Goa police on Saturday booked Panaji Congress MLA Atanasio Monserrate, the city mayor and a former deputy mayor for allegedly molesting a woman, during an anti-encroachment drive outside a casino office in the city on Friday.
Confirming this to The Hindu on Saturday, Chandan Chowdhary, North Goa Superintendent of Police said: “Yes, Panaji police have registered a First Information Report(FIR) against the three based on a complaint lodged by a woman, who was protesting the partial demolition of a casino office's façade”.
One of the off-shore casinos had allegedly encroached on a footpath and workers of the civic body had gone to the spot Friday to clear it. Mr. Monserratte, Mayor Uday Madkaikar and former Panaji Mayor Yatin Parekh were accompanying them.
The complainant woman, who was part of the group which opposed the demolition of a staircase constructed by the off- shore casino operator, alleged that Monserratte, Madkaikar and Parekh touched her inappropriately, abused her and outraged her modesty, police said.
However, Congress MLA Monserrate has said that the anti-encroachment drive happened in a public space, in public view and there was nothing untoward which occurred at the time. He told presspersons later that he was only inspecting the City Corporation of Panaji's encroachment drive outside the casino premises on Friday.
"I do not know about this. Nothing untoward happened during the drive on Friday," Mr. Monserrate said.
The police said they have started preliminary investigation.
The FIR has been filed under sections sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (outraging modesty), 504 (breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Ahead of May 19 assembly by-poll campaign in Panaji, Mr. Monserrate had promised to move offshore casinos from the Mandovi river off Panaji.
(With inputs from PTI)