From extortion to alleged rape of minor, Goa Congress MLA who joined BJP has a scandalous past

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Published: July 11, 2019 1:34:23 PM

Panaji MLA Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate is under trial for raping a minor girl in 2016. He is among the 10 Congress MLAs who defected from the party to join the BJP.

Goa MLA, Goa Congress MLA, Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate rape charges, BJPPanaji MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate is under trial for raping a minor girl in 2016. (File Photo/PTI)

A group of 10 Goa Congress MLAs staged a coup on Wednesday evening and merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party, adding to the woes of the grand old party. The move has increased the BJP’s number to 27 in the 40-seat Goa Assembly, however, what could be a cause of worry for the saffron party is the presence of an MLA in the rebel Congress team who is facing trial in a heinous rape case. Panaji MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate is under trial for raping a minor girl in 2016.

Also Read: After Karnataka, political crisis in Goa; 10 Congress MLAs resign, join BJP

Monserrate is facing serious charges under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) for rape and wrongful restraint. He had filed an appeal in June in the North Goa District and Sessions Court to drop the charges against him. However, the court had rejected his plea. Monserrate, who has consistently denied the charges, had said he will approach the high court to clear his name from the case.

MLA ‘bought’ the victim girl for Rs 50 lakh!

As per the statement given to the police in 2016, the victim claimed that Monserrate ‘bought’ her for Rs 50 lakh from her aunt. She alleged that the MLA kept her confined for several days, drugged and sexually assaulted her repeatedly.

The MLA had even spent eight days in jail after he surrendered before the police following the allegations. However, Monserrate was granted bail on the basis of lack of credibility in charges against him.

Monserrate, who won Panaji bypoll which was held following the death of CM Manohar Parrikar, was once even sacked by the Congress for fraternising with the BJP.

He has also been booked for extortion in the past. The MLA’s son Rohit was also arrested for allegedly raping a minor German girl, but was acquitted later.

The induction of an MLA facing serious criminal charges and is already facing trial has ruffled even the BJP’s most ardent supporters. Social media has been abuzz with remarks of how the BJP was turning a blind eye to such issues had started to seemingly appear as a “Congress party with a saffron tinge”.

Some supporters on social media did not hold back in expressing their disappointment with the BJP and said that while they believed in the intent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, such incidents raise questions on the manner in which he wishes to achieve his dream of a “Congress-mukt Bharat”.

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