Panaji: Goa legislator Atanasio Monserrate, accused of ‘buying’ a minor girl and subsequently raping her, was on Friday remanded in three-day police custody by a trial court here.
Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Vaishali Lotlikar also remanded the girl’s mother, accused of selling her daughter to Monserrate through a pimp, in police custody for three days.
Counsel for Monserrate, former Goa education minister, said the complaint against Monserrate was a case of “political victimisation” and that certain political forces through the police were slandering his reputation ahead of the 2017 assembly polls.
“My client has been remanded in three-day police custody… We have informed the court about how sensitive minute details of the case have been released to the media. This case is a political conspiracy, where the victim has been coerced to file the complaint,” lawyer Rajeev Gomes said.
Asked if he was accusing Goa’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government of engineering a conspiracy against Monserrate, Gomes said: “I am not saying that, but there is some political conspiracy behind the case.”
Monserrate is accused of ‘buying’ the girl from her mother for Rs.50 lakh and eventually raping her in March.
Police on Thursday arrested both Atanasio as well as the girl’s mother, who is accused of human trafficking. Raids were continuing to track the missing pimp.
Monserrate was elected to the assembly on a Congress ticket in 2012, but sacked after he allegedly started hobnobbing with the BJP leadership.
Monserrate has served as a cabinet minister in the Goa government led by the BJP.