A senior Bihar Congress leader, Brajesh Pandey, resigned as party’s state vice-president after a minor accused him of sexually abusing her in what has emerged as one of the biggest scandals to hit the party in the state in recent times.
Pandey landed in further trouble after revealing the name of the girl in his resignation letter. The police said they might file another FIR against Pandey for revealing her name.
Pandey resigned on Wednesday after the minor, the daughter of a Congress leader and former minister, named Pandey among several people who had allegedly abused her over a period of time.
The Congress is part of the ruling alliance in Bihar led by the JD-U of chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Pandey, who had unsuccessfully contested from Govindganj constituency in East Champaran in 2015, has pleaded innocence in his resignation letter. Bihar Congress spokesperson Harkhu Jha said Pandey’s resignation had been accepted.
The girl has demanded a probe by a senior police officer apprehending that the case might be scuttled or diluted due to the involvement of politically well-connected people, including Pandey.
The Congress leader has been booked under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) on the basis of a supervision note submitted by the CID’s women’s cell deputy superintendent of police Mamta Kalyani.
The main accused in the case, Nikhil Priyadarshi, is a leading businessman in the automobile sector and the son of retired IAS officer, who was earlier booked in a loan default case. Priyadarshi is on the run.
“We have asked the home ministry to issue a red corner notice against Priyadarshi so that he cannot escape from the country,” said additional director general of police (headquarter) Sunil Kumar. He also refuted reports that police had gone slow in the case due to political pressure.
The minor told HT that she feared for her life as her charges had the potential to implicate and damage many bigwigs.
“If I don’t get justice, I will be left with no option but to commit self-immolation, as there is no point living like this. I have pulled myself out of depression and overcome the suicidal tendencies that gripped me,” she said.
The girl claimed that she was lured by Priyadarshi, who promised marriage, but later realised that he, along with others, was running a sex racket.
“The relationship initially was in good faith, as Nikhil introduced me to his family. Later, he also had physical relations with me. But after that he started exploiting and threatening me, saying he had video clips of mine. He introduced Brajesh Pandey, a senior Congress leader, to me as ‘mantriji’. Besides, he’d call many senior IPS officials and other bureaucrats as ‘bhaiya’ while talking with them over phone,” she said.
The girl said she is not the lone one to have been exploited by Nikhil.
“There are many others, but they may not be able to come out in public like me and lodge protest. I had requested the police to look into Priyadarshi’s e-mails, which, I am sure, will help identify many of the bigwigs and his sordid connections. My fight is for all those women and girls who have been tormented by him,” she added.