Close to a week in police custody, former education Minister and St. Cruz MLA from Santa Cruz, Atanasio Monserrate filed his bail application before the Childrens Court at Panaji on Saturday. In a seven page plea submitted before the honourable court, the 53-year old Monserrate, said that Monserrate suggested that being politically active he has political foes, particularly in the ruling party.
In his bail application Monserrate maintained that on being apprised of a complaint minor’s rape lodged against him at Panaji police station on May 4th, he appeared before the Goa crime branch the very next day – as he learnt the case was transferred to the department. “But the police hastily placed him under arrest in Panaji P.S. Cr. No. 100/2016 u/s. 376, 328, 370(A), 342, 109, 120-B of IPC, Section 8(2) of the Goa Childrens Act and Section 3 and 4 of the POCSO Act,” Advocate Rajeev Gomes stated on behalf of his client.
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He a bail application cum deposition, Monserrate said that he was innocent and law abiding citizen. “I was introduced to the minor girl in the second week of February 2016, and employed her in one of my establishments as a sales girl at her request. However after a brief tenure from 16th Feb, 2016 till 18th of March, 2016, she was terminated from service after having reported to have stolen money from the cash counter. The minor girl had even confessed through SMS to Mr. Dilip Demu Dias and Miss Shabira Attar that she had stolen the money,” Monserrate said in his statement. Being visibly unhappy about her removal, the girl vowed to teach him a lesson and had come up with an imaginary story of indirectly suggesting that she was drugged and abused at the Applicant’s farm house in Taleigao.
According to Monserrate he could have never met the victim on the 6th or the 8th March, 2016, because he was busy with friends and supporters in the election and counting of the recently concluded Panaji Municipal Corporation elections. He stated that the entire case and investigation against him is politically motivated and the minor girl was manipulated and persuaded to make the false allegations against him to tarnish his image and weaken his political popularity at his constituency, prior to the state legislative assembly election (2017).
In a copy of thee bail application available with The Indian Express, he also stated that he had cooperated with the investigation including undergoing medical and psychological examination and voluntarily cooperated with the police. On the contrary Monserrate said that the police was fairly probing the matter and to sully his image the investigation team was leading false, misleading and skewed details of the investigation to the media.
Inturn for granting his bail, Monserrate offered to furnish sureties to courts satisfaction and assured not to abscond and tamper with the evidence and abide by courts order, he said in his bail petition while pleading that he be allowed to serve his constituents. Advocate Rajeev Gomes said that the bail plea was fixed for Monday.