The rape case involving St Cruz MLA Atanasio Monserrate who allegedly raped a minor has fallen before the court upside down due to the lapses in investigation. Babush was released on bail on Wednesday because police investigations had failed to prove that the girl was a minor at the time of the alleged offence. The court also hit the investigation agency as it helped the accused rather than the prosecution in the case because of its careless investigation pattern. Why it was unclear in the court that the girl was minor at the time of offence which directed the case towards the bail for all three accused. Read the whole report.
Babush was charged by the police under the Goa Children’s Act, which deals with rape offences against a child who has not completed 16 years of age. But, police failed to produce any evidence to prove that the survivor was a child as her birth certificate and Aadhar card confirms two different names and birthdates and on the top of that even the ossification test showed her to be 17 to 18 years of age accordingly it proved that babush was charged under the false offence.
It was hence observed by the additional session court judge Pramod Kamat, who is holding the charge of the children’s court that, “In such circumstances it is also doubtful whether the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and Goa Children’s Act, 2003, is applicable in the case at hand and, more particularly, in the light of the definition of a child under Section 2(d) and proviso (d), which defines that child shall mean any person who has not completed 16 years of age.”
As said by the judge the records also show that the child welfare committee (CWC), North Goa has admitted to the differences in both the documents that show the girl’s age.
Referring to all the statements made by the witnesses which put the victim in a bad light, the court said, “The statements of the various witnesses recorded by the investigation officer, who are employees of Monserrate, in fact, prima facie belies the case of the prosecution and supports the claim or say of the defence of the accused herein and their false implication.”
The court also highlighted the differences found in the survivor’s statement made before the CWC and that recorded under Section 164 of CrPC. These statements which were treated as an FIR, were recorded on May 4 while the supplementary statement was also made on May 5.
As per the statement by the victim alleging that the neighbor informed her that her mother sold her to Monserrate for 50 lakh does not find any place in the statement taken under Section 164 of CrPC. It was observed by Kamat, “The statement/FIR made before the CWC, Merces, which is converted into an FIR, does not state that the victim saw Monserrate present in the house on that day.”
The court also made another important note to make from the survivor’s statement was that nowhere was it mentioned that she was served cakes, beverages, etc, in the presence of the MLA and neither was it said that he touched her, or removed her clothes, or had sexual intercourse with her.
Further where the survivor has mentioned the presence of a few more girls and a boy at Monserrate’s house, the court said that the prosecution did not take pains either to ascertain their identity or examine any one of them. It was observed that this evidence would have been helped out to unfold the survivor’s case.
The investigation also failed to find out the driver who dropped the survivor to her friend’s house. Judge observed that, “The white colour car with tinted windows that was used to drop the survivor to her friend’s house was not attached.”