Judicial Magistrate First Class Sarika Faldessai on Tuesday dismissed Fr. Newton Rodrigues’ application seeking to withdraw the complaint lodged by him in 2004 against parishioners of Ribandar following which the police charge sheeted 15 parishioners including Advocate Aires Rodrigues.
Fr. Newton against whom the court had issued a warrant of arrest due to his failure to appear in the court, had moved an application to withdraw his complaint to the police stating that he had forgiven the parishioners who had trespassed into the church premises and disturbed the meeting of the Parish Pastoral committee.
Opposing the application, Adv. Aires had asserted that he would prove his innocence in the court and also drew the Court’s attention to the ordeal the accused including an 80 year old widow had undergone for the last seven years on account of the complaint, which he said was false and malicious.
It would be pertinent to point out that this particular case has been aggressively pursued by the government due to the personal intervention of Speaker Pratapsing Rane who was then the chief minister of the State.
In fact, on 22nd December 2009, the then Chief Judicial Magistrate P M Shinde had directed that these proceedings should be dropped. However, the prosecution despite failing in its appeal before the Sessions Court moved the High Court where the court ruled that the trial may proceed but directed that it be conducted expeditiously.
The trial court while dismissing the application moved by Fr. Newton also issued a fresh warrant against him to be served by the Crime Branch.