North Goa Additional Sessions Judge Cholu Gauns today stayed the judgement and sentence passed by Mapusa Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Pooja Desai on 5th January convicting Adv. Aires Rodrigues in the criminal case filed against him in connection with the alleged social media posts on that reported sex scandal involving the then Water Resources Minister Vinod Paliencar.
The order was passed while hearing the appeal filed under Section 374(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code by Adv. Rodrigues who was represented by Adv. Arun Bras de Sa. The Court also allowed the surety and bail bond furnished by Adv. Rodrigues before the Mapusa JMFC to be continued till the disposal of the Appeal. The Mapusa JMFC’s order has been challenged on 49 grounds by Adv. Rodrigues while submitting that the order was legally perverse being contrary to law and the evidence on record. The next hearing will be on February 22nd.
On a complaint filed by Siolim based Shreha Dhargalkar that she had been linked to that sex scandal, an F.I.R was registered against Adv. Aires Rodrigues on 27th November 2017 at the Anjuna Police Station. The F.I.R within a week was transferred to the Crime Branch by the IGP citing the gravity of the offence and to ensure a professional investigation with directions to the SP Crime that the case be assigned to a competent Inspector.
After investigating the case for three years the Crime Branch Inspector Dattaguru Sawant on 27th November 2020 filed a 210 page charge sheet against Adv. Aires Rodrigues under Sections 354 (A) (IV), 509, 201 & 203 of IPC. Interestingly the statement of Vinod Paliencar was not recorded nor was he cited as a witness in the case. The trial commenced on 5th January 2021 and over the two years during 40 hearings the Prosecution examined 14 of the 19 witnesses mentioned in the charge sheet with most of them turning hostile.
Meanwhile, the trial of Shreha Dhargalkar and three others charge-sheeted for having on 27th November 2017 trespassed into the Ribandar office of Adv. Aires Rodrigues is scheduled to start on 25th January before Panaji Chief Judicial Magistrate Ram Prabhudesaai. This case was also investigated by then Crime Branch Inspector Dattaguru Sawant.