Advocate Aires Rodrigues has alleged that the then Police Inspector Ezilda D’Souza who was investigating the case of Fr. Newton Rodrigues molesting a minor girl, deliberately dragged her feet to enable the priest to pressurize the victim to withdraw her complaint.
Revealing the chronology of events through documents secured under the Right to Information Act, Adv. Rodrigues said that the investigating officer was a parishioner of Ribandar where the incident occurred and whose parish priest was under cloud.
He pointed out that the First Information Report was filed on 18th August 2004 against Fr. Newton under the Goa Children’s Act following a complaint lodged by the victim’s mother.
Fr. Newton in his statement to the police admitted that while touching the girl’s pendant, his hand had accidentally touched her breast and that he had apologized to the girl’s mother.
Following investigations, the then Superintendent of Police (Crime) on 30th August 2004 opined that a charge sheet be filed against Fr. Newton and draft charge sheet was even prepared. Significantly, the Prosecution Department had also opined that the charge sheet be filed against the priest.
Despite this, more than a fortnight later, on 17nd September 2004, the investigating officer Ezilda sought her superior’s advice on whether the charge sheet should be filed with or without arresting Fr. Newton.
On 22nd September 2004, the then Superintendent of Police directed the Police Inspector to file the charge sheet without arresting him.
Six days later, on 28th September 2004, the victim addressed a letter to the Director General of Police stating that the complaint against the priest was filed under pressure.
It is Adv. Rodrigues’ contention that the one month period taken for investigating and open and shut case, was merely to give the accused time to pressurize the victim to withdraw the complaint.