After Swami Chinmayanand, and Kuldeep Sengar another BJP member has come to spotlight for rape charges, this time from Goa.
A Goa court on Thursday framed charges against BJP MLA Atanasio Monserratte for allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl. The police had last year filed a 250-page charge sheet in North Goa district court after the investigation in the case was completed.
North Goa district and sessions court judge Sherin Paul on Thursday framed charges against Atanasio Monserratte. The trial in the case will begin on October 17.
55-year-old Monserratte the MLA from Panaji constituency, has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 376 (rape) and relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
In a statement to police in 2016, the victim, then aged 16, accused Monserratte of drugging and sexually assaulting her. She also alleged that her mother “sold” her to Atanasio Monserratte for Rs50 lakh.
Atanasio Monserratte was arrested on May 5, 2016, and is currently out on bail. The MLA earlier denied all charges against him, saying he was innocent and the case against him was “politically motivated.”
The development comes at a time when BJP is already under the spotlight for its string of leaders accused of rape and sexual assault. Former BJP MLA from Unnao, Kuldeep Sengar was recently expelled from the party. Following the outrage over the road accident that left the Unnao rape victim and her lawyer battling for life and which killed two of her family members, the BJP finally expelled Sengar from the party.
The two-year-old case of the rape of the minor girl allegedly by Sengar at his residence in Unnao attracted national attention when the victim was critically injured in a car accident on July 28.
In another recent case involving a law student accusing BJP member Chinmayanand of raping her, the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) came up with a clarification on Wednesday that former Union Minister who is in judicial custody, was never a member of the party and hence there is no question of expelling him.
(With inputs from PTI)