Special Correspondent

PANAJI: Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who appeared before JMFC Edgar Fernandes on Saturday in the case of an alleged threat to “Utt Goenkara” spokesman Aires Rodrigues, was granted exemption from personal presence during the next hearing after he submitted a surety and a personal bond of Rs.10,000 each.

The Minister said he would not be able to appear on January 11, the next hearing, as he had to attend the State Assembly session.

North Goa Sessions Judge U.V. Bakre, while dismissing a criminal appeal filed by Mr. Rane earlier, had directed him to appear before the JMFC, Panaji Edgar Fernandes at 10 a.m. on January 11 to answer charges under section 506 (II) of Indian Penal Code on a criminal case filed by Mr. Rodrigues.

The case pertains to a complaint filed by Mr. Rodrigues with the Old Goa Police (north Goa) on July 31 complaining that he received a call on his mobile from Mr. Rane allegedly threatening him.

In his private criminal complaint to the JMFC, Mr. Aires Rodrigues had alleged that the Old Goa Police , on political pressure, had dragged their feet in the investigation of the case and had even registered the FIR against the Health Minister 22 days after the complaint.