HC to decide on summons to Viswajit Rane's wife on Sept 9

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Panaji, Aug 26 (UNI) The Panaji bench of Bombay High Court will decide on September nine whether Divya Rane, wife of health minister Viswajit Rane, has to step into the witness box in a criminal case filed against her husband by a social activist for allegedly threatening to kill the latter.

Justice N A Britto yesterday heard Utt Goenkara spokesman Advocate Aires Rodrigues' petition challenging the order of the city Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Edgar Fernandes, who refused to issue summons to Ms Rane and Police Inspector Vishwesh Karpe.

Justice Britto, while modifying the order of the JMFC, allowed Mr Rodrigues to examine the police inspector as a witness in the case while adjourning the matter of Ms Rane.

The minister had earlier strongly opposed Adv Rodriguez's application to issue summons to Ms Rane and Mr Karpe before the JMFC.

Mr Karpe, then Old Goa Police station Inspector, had registered an FIR against the minister 22 days after Adv Rodrigues had filed a complaint on July 31 last year. Adv Rodrigues had stated in the FIR that while he was at his Ribandar office, he had received a call on his mobile from Mr Rane saying, ''This is Vishwajit Rane. Be careful. I will get you shot.'' Mr Rane had initially denied of making the call. But later when the police quizzed him, he had admitted to the Old Goa Police of having made the call to Adv Rodrigues from his wife's mobile.

Adv Rodrigues had also objected to Mr Karpe interrogating the accused, Vishwajit and Divya Rane, in the comfort of their flat at Miramar and not at the police station.

In his petition to the high court, Adv Rodrigues submitted that the JMFC's finding that Ms Rane was not a material witness to the case, was ''perverse and muzzles the criminal case against the Health Minister''.

Since the alleged threatening call came from the mobile of Ms Rane, the circumstances under which the mobile came in the possession of the accused Mr Rane was very relevant, he stated in the petition.

He further submitted that whether the mobile was given to Mr Rane by his wife at the time of the incident or earlier, and whether Ms Rane was present when the call was made or heard the statements made during the call, were all facts within the knowledge of the Ms Rane.

UNI BM SSS GL DS1200

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