The man who accused a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator of molesting his 12-year-old daughter on a train last week took a dramatic U-turn, claiming the statement was made under duress.
In an affidavit filed in a POCSO court on Friday, the father said the “allegations” against Siwan member of legislative council Tunna Ji Pandey were “untrue” and the case was lodged “under pressure” of the Government Railway Police (GRP).
The Hajipur GRP on July 24 registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against Pandey on charges of molesting a minor girl in an AC coach of the Kolkata-Gorakhpur Poorvanchal Express.
The 47-year-old lawmaker, who is also a businessman, denied the charge, claiming he was switching on the light to unplug a cell-phone adapter at about 3:15 am when the girl startled, and started crying.
Nonetheless, the BJP suspended Pandey and served him a show-cause notice, asking him to reply within seven days.
On Friday, however, the complainant did a 180, altering his statement to echo the legislator’s claim that his daughter had woken up from a bad dream and was not molested.
In the affidavit, he said the GRP personnel “forcibly detained” him at Hajipur. “An official dictated me to file an application. My daughter was pressured to sign on it,” he said.
The crying girl was “narrating about her bad dream” when the GRP men arrived and “forced me to lodge a case against the MLC”, the father said.
The new claim was buttressed by another affidavit filed by a co-passenger, Ankit Shukla.
The railway police or superintendent (Muzaffarpur) BN Jha could not be reached for comment.
The BJP legislator’s alleged involvement in the molestation case had given the Rashtriya Janata Dal arsenal to hit back. RJD’s Nawada MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav is in jail for raping a 10-year-old in Nalanda in February — chief minister Nitish Kumar’s constituency.
The RJD’s alliance partner, Janata Dal (United), too suffered a disgrace in January this year when its Jokhihat MLA Sarfaraz Ahmad was charged with misbehaviour with a woman on the Rajdhani Express from Guwahati.