Goa MLA Atanasio Monserratte arrested in rape case

Goa MLA Atanasio Monserratte arrested in rape case

Goa police today arrested former state Education minister and expelled Congress MLA Atanasio Monserratte for allegedly raping a minor girl after 'buying' her from her mother for Rs 50 lakh.

"Monserratte has been placed under arrest. We will be soon moving the court to seek his remand as we need his custodial interrogation," Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) Karthik Kashyap told PTI.

The girl's mother too was arrested on the charge of human trafficking, he said, adding that another woman, wanted in the case, was absconding.

Monserratte appeared before the crime branch officials at 3.10 pm today, and was placed under arrest at 8.30 pm.

He has been booked under IPC section 376 (rape), 328 (poisoning), 342 (wrongful confinement, 370 (A) (trafficking) and the provisions of Goa Children Act and the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act.

A senior police official said that police had examined ten witnesses and also recorded the girl's statement before a magistrate.

According to the 16-year-old girl's complaint, her mother and another woman hatched a conspiracy and sold her for Rs 50 lakh to Monserratte in March this year for sexual exploitation.

"Monserratte kept her in confinement, administered some stupefying substance and had sexual intercourse with her several times without her consent," it says.

Monserratte, who was out of Goa yesterday when the FIR was registered at the Women Police Station, today returned and drove to Ribander office of Crime Branch, accompanied by his wife Jeniffer and a few supporters.

Police had issued a summons to him, asking him to remain present before Investigating Officer Sudiksha Naik.

"I have not done anything wrong. The complaint is totally false and bogus. This is just to frame me," he told reporters before entering the Crime Branch office.

The MLA also denied that he had spiked the girl's drink before raping her, as claimed by media reports.

"I watch Sawadhan India (a TV crime show) but I don't know what they put in the drink," he said.

The MLA claimed that he hired the girl for working at the Hallmark showroom which he owns after meeting her parents, but sacked her when she was caught stealing.
"It is definitely something to do with politics," he said.

Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said the charges were serious and police should probe the genuineness of the case.

"The charges against him are of very serious nature. I feel police needs to figure out genuineness of the case," Parsekar told reporters after holding a meeting with Superintendent of Police Karthik Kashyap to take stock of the investigation.

Police also conducted searches at various places including Monserratte's houses.

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