A young woman who had accused Congress candidate for Panaji Assembly by-election Atanasio Monserrate of drugging and raping her in 2016, when she was a minor, has gone missing, Goa Police confirmed on Monday.
The police have registered a case of abduction against unknown persons based on a missing complaint. Monserrate’s counsel had earlier argued in court that the charges should be dismissed since the victim’s six statements given by her till date allegedly do not match.
According to the police, the victim was staying in a rehabilitation home run by nuns in Goa, awaiting the trial. She has been reportedly missing since April 28, they said.
Inspector Sandesh Chodankar of Verna police station confirmed that the nuns’ complaint was converted into an abduction complaint on May 10, days after the victim failed to return from her home in north India. “We have lodged a missing complaint and are making efforts to trace (her),” Chodankar told the media here.
According to the complaint, in 2016, when she a minor girl, Monserrate, then a Congress MLA, had “purchased” the victim for Rs 50 lakh, and subsequently drugged and raped her.
Monserrate was booked for human trafficking, poisoning and rape, as well as booked under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Goa Children’s Act.
Monserrate, who has been with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally Goa Forward Party before returning to the Congress in April this year, was earlier granted bail since the victim’s statement changed with time.
The defence counsel, Advocate Subodh Desai said, “The girl claimed that she was made unconscious but admitted to having used her phone during the time she claimed to have been unconscious. We have argued for (Monserrate’s) discharge on these grounds.”