Goa minister's son cleared of raping German girl
A court in the Indian resort state of Goa has acquitted the son of a government minister accused of raping a 14-year-old German girl nearly three years ago.
A judge at the Goa Children's Court on Thursday freed Rohit Monserratte after the collapse of his trial on charges of sexually assaulting the teenager in his car near the state capital, Panaji, in October 2008.
The case was dismissed after efforts to persuade the alleged victim and her mother to testify failed. Both have returned to Germany, the court heard.
Rohit, whose father Atanasio is Goa's education minister, disappeared for nearly a month after the unnamed German woman told police her daughter had been attacked.
He was charged with rape, sending lewd text messages to "outrage her modesty" and sexual abuse.
The case made headlines as it came six months after the body of 15-year-old British girl Scarlett Keeling was found in north Goa having apparently being plied with drink and drugs.
Scarlett's mother mounted a high-profile campaign to force authorities to open a murder case, accusing the police of refusing to act in order to protect influential drug gangs in the former Portuguese colony.
The German woman said she came under pressure to drop the rape complaint while the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court criticised the police inquiry as "neither just nor fair".
Two local men are currently on trial in connection with Scarlett's death.
© 2011 AFP