Goan lawmaker Atanasio Monserrate to face trial for rape
The trial of former Goa minister and Panaji’s BJP MLA Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate who allegedly raped a minor girl in 2016 will begin on October 17.
The Panaji Sessions Court on Thursday framed charges against Monserrate under sections 326 (causing grievous hurt with weapons), 328 (poisoning), 342 (wrongful confinement) 506 (intimidation), 376 (rape) and 107 (abetment of an offence) as well as section 67-B of the Information & Technology Act and 4 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Co-accused Rosy Ferrao has been booked for abetting the offences.
“Both the accused Babush and Rosy have pleaded not guilty to the charges,” their advocate Damodar Dhond said.
Monserrate had earlier petitioned the court for dropping of charges and discharge in the matter, but his request was dismissed.
The victim had in a statement given to the police back in 2016 accused Monserrate of buying her for ₹50 lakh, drugging her and sexually assaulting her.
The legislator was released on bail after his defence argued that the girls complaint did not add up and that there were several loopholes in her account.
Monserrate had then accused the ruling dispensation of deliberately targeting him ahead of the Goa Assembly elections and has denied all the charges against him. Monserrate spent around eight days in jail after he surrendered to the police in 2016. He was granted bail eight days later after his lawyers successfully argued that the charges against him lacked credibility.
In July this year, he led a group of ten Congress legislators who quit the party and merged with the BJP.
In the bypoll for the Panaji assembly seat last May, Monserrate who was then with the Congress defeated the BJP’s Sidharth Kunkolienkar which was the saffron party’s first loss in its stronghold in 26 years.
Monserrate previously controlled the affairs in the Corporation of the City of Panaji as the councillors he sponsors hold a majority in the city’s council.