Panaji: Goa's controversial MLA Atanasio "Babush" Monserrate is again in the news for wrong reasons. The MLA and former minister who represents Santa Cruz seat in Goa Assembly is not new to allegations of criminal cases and controversies.
But, the latest charge against him is horrific and dwarfs all his previous cases of alleged crimes in nature and proportion. He is accused of buying an underage girl for Rs 50 lakh and raping her later.
After his arrest two days ago, Monserrate is being interrogated by the Goan Police. Five years ago, his son was also accused of raping a German teenage girl. He was acquitted after the teenager and her mother refused to testify against him.
The minor girl allegedly raped by Monserrate used to work in a Hallmark outlet at Miramar owned by Babush Monseratte. She worked from November 2015 to March 4, 2016. Her neighbour, whom she called Aunty Rosy, had introduced her to Babush.
Two days after she quit her job, her "Aunty" and mother took her to meet Monserrate. He asked the girl what she was interested in and whether she wanted to study.
The girl refused and said wanted to go back home. After three-four days, the girl was taken to his farmhouse in Talegaon by her "Aunty" and mother.
She was made to have a drink which the police believe was spiked. She passed out after having the drink.
According to the girl when she woke up, she found that she was lying on Monserrate's bed. There was blood on the bed sheet and the MLA was sitting on the chair shirtless, she claimed
He asked her if she wanted to stay at the farmhouse but she refused. This incident took place in the second week of March.
Thereafter, she went to her friend's place and kept the clothes that she was wearing inside a bag. The bag has been recovered by the police.
She went back home and had an altercation with her mother when she was asked why she had come back. The mother told her that she had sold her off to Monserrate for Rs 50 lakh. She left the house and started staying with her friend.
On April 11, the girl's mother saw her with friends. Realising that she wasn't staying with Monserrate, the mother told Panaji police that her daughter wasn't staying at home and was loitering around.
The police called the mother and the girl in the presence of the victim assistance unit. The girl was furious and did not want to return home with her mother. She was taken to a children's welfare home.
It was during her stay at the children's home, she opened up and narrated the horrific incident to a counselor.
Monserrate first won an election and became an MLA in 2002. Goa's real estate boom helped to him to acquire a huge fortune and cement his position in state politics. He has hobnobbed with both the Congress and BJP depending on the situation.
He is an ambitious leader and has made it clear that he wants to be become Goa's chief minister after the 2017 Assembly elections.
He dealt a body blow to the ruling BJP in the Panaji Municipal elections by winning the city corporation under the banner of his own party.