Rape case against Goa MLA: Court seeks explanation from police on media ‘leaks’

Panajim(PTI):A local court on Thursday sought explanation from Superintendent of Police (Goa Crime Branch) on how details of investigation in connection with the rape case registered against expelled Congress legislator Atanasio Monserratte were getting “leaked” to the media. The court on Thursday extended the police custody of Monserratte and the victim’s mother by another four days.

Superintendent of Police (Crime) Karthik Kashyap was asked to submit his explanation by May 16 before Principle District and Sessions Judge B P Deshpande.

The court, which was hearing an application by Crime Branch seeking extension of police custody of Monserratte, said it was not satisfied with the explanation given by Investigation Officer Sudiksha Naik on media leaks.

Monserratte has been arrested for allegedly buying and raping a 16-year-old girl. The victim’s mother and another woman Rosy Ferros has also been arrested by Crime Branch which has charged them with human trafficking.

During the hearing of the application for extending the police custody of Monserratte and the mother, defence lawyer Saresh Lotlikar pointed they had moved an application seeking to restrain police from divulging information about the case to media.

“The explanation has to come how everything is figuring in media. The concerned Superintendent of Police should explain how it is getting leaked to media,” Lotlikar said.

Advocate Rajiv Gomes, who also represented Monserratte along with Lotlikar, submitted to the court that the statement given by the victim to the police was verbatim printed in media. Investigating Officer Naik said the police were not leaking the information but the Judge refused to buy her explanation ordering Superintendent of Police to submit his reply.

“Let SP give the reply how investigation details were being leaked out. The reply filed by investigating officer (Sudiksha Naik) is not satisfactory. In-charge SP should file a detailed reply,” the judge ruled in the open court hall which was packed with the MLA’s supporters.

Mayor of Panaji city corporation Surendra Furtado was also in the court. Earlier, Crime, Branch seeking extension in police custody of Monserratte, claimed that during the investigation, the officers have come across SMS communications between the lawmaker and the victim’s mother.

“We want more time to probe this conversation. We have to recover the mobile from the accused,” said public prosecutor Nita Marathe. She said the accused was not cooperating with the investigating officer.

However, defence lawyer Lotlikar argued that allegations that the accused is not cooperating cannot be a ground for keeping him in police custody. He demanded that Monserratte be sent to judicial custody so that he can file for bail.