Goa MLA Babush Monserrate, accused of raping teenager, granted bail
Panaji: Goa legislator Atanasio Monserratte, better known as Babush Monserratte, who was arrested for allegedly buying and raping a minor girl, has been granted bail.
District and Sessions Judge Pramod Kamat granted bail to Monserratte, and also to the girl's mother and another woman, Rosy Ferros, accused of 'selling' the teenager her to the MLA for Rs. 50 lakh.
The legislator, who had been expelled from Congress last year, was arrested by the Goa Police on May 5 for allegedly buying the 16-year-old girl and raping her in March.
He was booked under Indian Penal Code sections 376 (rape), 328 (poisoning), 342 (wrongful confinement), 370 (A) (trafficking), provisions of Goa Children Act and Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The MLA's counsel Rajiv Gomes had argued against slapping of section 370 of IPC and section 8(2) of Goa Children's Act in the FIR.
Referring to the statement recorded by the girl, Mr Gomes said there was no sexual assault in this case as the girl never claimed or disclosed about it in her complaint.
He also challenged the arrest of Monserratte on May 5, the day he appeared before police, by an officer who was not investigating the case. Mr Gomes had pointed out that the arrest was executed by Police Inspector Dattaguru Sawant, while the case was investigated by Sawant's colleague Sudiksha Naik.
The lawyer had claimed that the investigation was conducted at the behest of political opponents of the accused. He also said that by charging the legislator with rape, the police were making the girl as "rape victim" and "tarnishing her image".
In his bail plea, the MLA said the charge of rape against him was a "fertile imagination of investigating officer".
The St Cruz legislator has been asked to furnish bail amount of Rs. 1 lakh and a surety of the like amount. The accused women were asked to furnish bail amounts of Rs. 25,000 each with sureties. All three accused have been asked to appear before Crime Branch for next seven days.