It was the chief minister Pratapsing Rane who cleared the decks for filing the charge sheet against Advocate Aires Rodrigues and 14 other residents of Ribandar in the infamous Ribandar Church case.
According to information gathered under the Right to Information, Rane gave his nod to filing the charge sheet on 4th February 2005, just two days after taking over as the Chief Minister of the State.
Further, it is also revealed that the then Law Secretary V P Shetye called for the file on 3rd February and sent it to the Chief Secretary who in turn sent the file to the Chief Minister on 4th February.
Adv. Rodrigues while pointing out that charge sheets are normally filed by the police after getting the legal opinion of the Public Prosecutor or Director of Prosecution said this was the first time that a case was referred to the chief minister.
He also pointed out that referring the file to the Chief Minister as contrary to the directives given by the Supreme Court in order to keep police investigations independent of political interference.
Interestingly, while the chief minister gave his consent to charge sheet 15 people protesting against the alleged molestation of a minor girl, the then Governor of Goa S C Jamir intervened to ask the police not to proceed with the investigations in the molestation case, only because the alleged perpetrator of the crime was a priest.