The North Goa district and sessions court on Thursday ordered BJP’s Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate to stand trial for allegedly raping a teenage girl in 2016 and framed charges against him under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act.
The police had last year filed a 250-page charge sheet as well as listed 40 witnesses; in North Goa district court after the investigation in the case was completed.
North Goa district and sessions court judge Sherin Paul framed charges against Atanasio Monserrate. The trial in the case will begin on October 17th.
Monserrate, popularly known as Babush, is the first sitting MLA in Goa to face charges under POCSO. He has also been charged for rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation as well as under Indian penal Code Section 376 (rape).
The survivor had alleged in May 2016 who was then aged 16, that she was drugged and raped by the then St Cruz MLA on March 6, 2016. She also alleged that her mother “sold” her to Atanasio Monserrate for Rs. 50 lakh. The police did not find sufficient evidence to name her mother as an accused in the case.
Charges were also framed against Rosaria alias Rosy Ferros, a resident of Caranzalem, who is accused of abetment of crime.
Monserrate was arrested on May 5, 2016, and is currently out on bail.
The MLA denied all the charges against him and said he was innocent and the case against him was “politically motivated.”
He stated that he had been living with this stigma for over two and a half years, and was looking forward to the start of the trial.
He even went ahead and indirectly referred to the former Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar saying, “People who framed me are no more… I want to get rid of this case.”
Babush finally concluded that Justice will prevail and that the taint on him will be removed.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he will only comment after going through the court order.
Cases like these do not bode well for politicians given that BJP is already infamous for a number of its leaders accused of rape and sexual assault
Former BJP MLA from Unnao, Kuldeep Singh Sengar was recently expelled from the party for rape and the road accident which left the rape victim and her lawyer in a critical condition.
In another case, a law student accused BJP member Chinmayanand of raping her.