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December 9, 2009

Crime branch officials arrest Goa politician accused of rape

     Panaji: Goa politician John Fernandes, an accused in the alleged rape of a Russian woman, was arrested by the Goa Crime Branch here today. On Tuesday (December 8), the South Goa District and Sessions Court had granted bail to him, as his lawyer argued that there was a discrepancy in the statements of the victim. This morning the Russian girl, who had alleged that supporters of John Fernandes had assaulted her, wished to withdraw her rape complaint if the Russian Consulate did not step in to help her. The 25-year-old woman, who is associated with a five star hotel, had filed a complaint in this regard with the local police station. Later, the girl's lawyer had sent her complaint to the Russian consulate, as she blamed the local police for not cooperating with her. The police, however, had refused to comment on the matter and said the case is being investigated. Fernandes, who had contested the elections on a Save Goa Front ticket, had earlier claimed that the allegations against him was not correct and was politically motivated. Meanwhile on Monday (December 7), after the Goa Crime Branch Police stepped into the case, the charge on John Fernandes, the accused was changed from attempt to rape to rape. The south Goa district and sessions court granted bail to the accused John Fernandes on Tuesday (December 8), as his lawyer argued that there was discrepancy in the statements of the victim and she was changing her stand often. This case could ruin Goa's reputation as a safe tourist destination.
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