BJP backs minister facing rape charges

BJP backs minister facing rape charges

Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Nihalchand Meghwal, accused of rape, will not resign as the BJP is defending him on the ground that the previous Congress government in Rajasthan had filed a closure report in the case.

The woman, who had accused Chand of raping her, alleged that she is being threatened to withdraw the case. Women’s organisations have been accusing the BJP-led NDA government of “protecting” Meghwal, who has been summoned by a Jaipur court in the sexual assault case.

The BJP on Thursday came out in defence of the junior minister by providing some details to back their claim that the case was “motivated”. A senior BJP leader claimed that the junior minister was not named in the first FIR the woman had filed in Sirsa district of Haryana on October 17, 2011, in which she alleged dowry harassment and rape. Only her in-laws were named in the case. 

She had also filed petitions before the national human rights commission and director general of police, Haryana, seeking justice in the case but did not mention Meghwal’s name. In another case, she got registered in Vaishali Nagar police station of Jaipur against 19 persons, the name “Nihal Chand” was included. But, the father’s name of Chand was missing which, the BJP leaders claim, makes it vague. The names of eight other people are fictitious and till date they are untraceable.

The leader further said that the state police under the then Congress regime probed the case and filed a closure report in December 2012, after finding that the charges were untrue. Though she had argued against the closure report, a metropolitan magistrate in Jaipur agreed with the police probe and dismissed the woman’s petition.

She had challenged the metropolitan magistrate order. In between, one of the accused approached the high court which directed the additional district judge to hear all the 19 accused before deciding on the victim’s review petition. 

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