In an interesting development, the Central Bureau of Investigation has rubbished Education Minister Babush Monserrate’s claim that he and his wife Jennifer were assaulted by police while in custody on 19th February 2008 after they were arrested.
In an affidavit filed before the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court, Ashok Yadav, Inspector, CBI affirmed that the injuries sustained by Babush and his wife were due to the use of reasonable force to take them into custody and not due to any beating while in custody.
It may be recalled that on 19th February 2008 Babush led a strong mob to the Panjim police station protesting against the treatment meted out by police to two of his supporters and also the raid on his house. The mob pelted stones at the police station where there was an ugly scene and police had to use force to dispel the crowd and take Babush, Jennifer their son Amit and many others into custody.
After his release, Babush had revealed the bruise marks on his body including the abdomen and upper thigh, which he said were caused by assaults while in police custody.
However, the CBI has now stated that the injuries were not due to any assault but due to the scuffle and reasonable force the police had to use to arrest Babush and his wife.
Significantly, the CBI has also recommended department action against Police Inspector Sudesh Naik, Police Sub-Inspector Tushar Lotlikar, Lady Constable Savita Morje and constable Anil Pilgaonkar for lapses on their part on that fateful day.
The CBI has also rubbished Babush’s charge that police had stolen valuables from his house by pointing out that the drawer in which the jewelry was purportedly kept was not damaged. Babush had claimed that the police had broken open the drawer and taken jewelry, cash and credit cards from it.
Similarly, his charge that the police vandalized his vehicles was also rejected by the CBI by relying upon a testimony of Babush’s neighbor.
Babush along with 37 others including his wife Jennifer who is now the Zilla Panchayat member, present Panjim Mayor Carolina Po and former Mayor Tony Fernandes were charged for rioting, unlawful assembly, causing hurt to public servants following the protest morcha at the Panjim police station.