A local court today extended the police custody of former Goa Education minister and expelled Congress legislator Atanasio Monserratte by three days in connection with the case of buying and raping of a minor girl.
The state Crime Branch produced Monserratte before District and Sessions Judge B P Deshpande as the three-day remand granted to him by Judicial Magistrate First Class expired today.
Monserratte, who has been booked under POSCO Act, has been arrested for allegedly buying and raping a 16-year-old girl.
The mother of the girl and another woman Rosy Ferros have also been arrested for selling the victim to the St Cruz lawmaker for Rs 50 lakh.
However, he has denied the charges claiming them to be politically motivated.
The Crime Branch today told the court that Monserratte has not been cooperating with them.
The police had sought ten days custody which they said was required for thorough investigations but the judge allowed only three days (till May 11).
Defence Lawyer Saresh Lotlikar representing Monserratte said the accused has been completely cooperating with the agencies.
“The agencies had three-day custody which they failed to utilise. The accused has surrendered before police out of his own wish so he trying to influence witneses is out of question,” he said.
Advocate Rajiv Gomes, another lawyer representing the accused, told reporters outside the court that the probe agency has failed to collect proper evidence in the case.
“The investigation is biased. Statement of the girl is manipulated. The process of manipulation has started from child welfare committee of state-run Apna Ghar,” he claimed.
“There is no question of accused not cooperating as he has surrendered before the police,” he said.
Gomes said the girl has given her statement before the magistrate under pressure.
The lawyer also objected to the police unnecessarily subjecting Monserratte to psychiatric tests.
Meanwhile, the mother of the girl was also remanded to three-day police custody following which he has moved for a bail application before Goa Children’s Court which would be heard on May 12.
( Source – PTI )