Goa legislator Atanasio Monserratte, who was arrested for allegedly buying and raping a minor girl, has been granted bail by a local court on Wednesday.
District and Sessions Judge Pramod Kamat granted bail to Monserratte, and also the girl’s mother and another woman, Rosy Ferros, arrested for allegedly selling her to the MLA for Rs 50 lakh.
The St Cruz legislator has been asked to furnish bail amount of Rs one lakh and a surety of the like amount. He has been asked to appear before Crime Branch for next seven days.
The two other accused women were asked to furnish bail amount of Rs 25,000 each and sureties of the like amount. They were also asked to report to the Crime Branch for seven days.
The legislator, who had been expelled from Congress last year, was arrested on May 5.
Goa police is investigating the case against Monserratte who has been booked for buying the 16-year-old girl and raping her in March.
He was booked under IPC 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 against the MLA.
Referring to the statement recorded by the girl, 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.
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”.