Panaji, Oct 15 (UNI) The City Judicial Munciff First Class Magistrate Edgar Fernandes today directed the Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane and his wife Divya Rane to be present in Court on November 16 to answer charges under sec 506 (II) of Indian Penal Code related to criminal case filed by NGO ''Utt Goenkara'' spokesman Adv Aires Rodrigues against them.
The Minister and his wife, who were directed to appear before the court today, moved an application through their lawyer Shailendra G Bhobe seeking exemption for the day.
It was submitted to the Court that Vishwajeet Rane was out of station on official work as Goa's Minister for Health and that Divya Rane had fractured her right leg and was advised bed rest by her doctor.
Allowing the exemption application, the court directed Adv Bhobe to keep the accused couple present in Court on November 16 at 1000 hrs without fail.
Mr Rodrigues, in his complaint with the Old Goa Police stated that on July 31, while he was at his Ribandar office, he received a call on his mobile phone from the minister threatening him with dire consequences if he continued to campaign against Mr Rane.
In his criminal complaint to the JMFC, Mr Rodrigues stated that the Old Goa Police on political pressure, were dragging their feet in the investigation and had registered the FIR against the Minister 22 days after the complaint.
The Minister, who had earlier taken a stand that he did not know Aires Rodrigues and denied having telephoned him, later, on interrogation, made a volte-face and had confessed to the Old Goa Police of having called Adv Aires Rodrigues from his wife Divya Rane's mobile on July 31 at 0811 hrs.
The Minister had, however, not been able to explain to the police as to why he did not use his own mobile and chose to call Rodrigues from his wife Divya Rane's mobile.
Divya Rane, in her statement to the Old Goa Police, stated that her mobile phone was in the possession of her husband and that she did not know details of calls made from it.
The couple have been charged under section 506 (II) of Indian Penal Code which carries a punishment of seven years imprisonment or fine or both.