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SP leader released after girl 'withdraws' charges

Lucknow, March 18 (IANS) 13:33 IST
Senior SP leader Chandra Nath Singh was released in Uttar Pradesh Monday after the young girl who had accused him of molesting her withdrew her complaint amid reports of political pressure to do so.

Sixty-two-year-old Samajwadi Party leader and former MP Chandra Nath Singh was arrested late Sunday night for trying to molest a co-passenger on board the Padmawat Express.

According to police officials the "matter was closed" after the girl, along with her family members, gave a written undertaking informing them that they were withdrawing the case registered at the Shahjahanpur government railway police (GRP) station.

The girl's parents, amid reports of political pressure, told the police that they were not interested in pursuing the case any further and said the leader had apologised to them and had regretted his behaviour.

When the GRP personnel arrested Singh, a former MP from Machhlishahr, it was discovered that he was travelling on a wait listed ticket in the AC coach. The girl accused him of being drunk and of sexually harassing her.

The passengers in the train sided with the girl and testified to the police team. The former MP, however, told the police that he was innocent and was being framed; all that he had done was to ask the girl to move a little, so he could sit on the berth.

Ram Asrey Kushwaha, senior SP leader had said that the matter would be brought before party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and necessary action will be taken if the party leader was found guilty.

Rajya Sabha member and senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal termed the incident "very serious" and said that if the leader was found guilty, he would be expelled from the party.
But by Monday afternoon, things changed completely: The girl withdrew the charges and called for an end to the episode.

Sources say, the complainant was subjected to immense pressure from the arrested leader, officials and the ruling party, following which she withdrew her complaint.
Meanwhile, the main opposition party in the state assembly, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), walked out of the legislative council and demanded stringent and immediate action against the SP leader.

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