Samajwadi Party MLA Arun Kumar Verma has been booked for murdering a 22-year-old woman who charged him with gang rape in 2013.
The woman’s body was found near her house in Sultanpur on Sunday morning.
Sultanpur superintendent of police Pawan Kumar confirmed to HT over the phone that the woman’s father has accused Verma – the sitting Samajwadi Party MLA and candidate from Sultanpur Sadar constituency – of allegedly murdering his daughter with the help of his aides. The complainant lodged the FIR under IPC section 302 for murder at the Jaisinghpur police station, he added.
Verma defended himself and said: “Dragging of my name again in the case despite the fact that I was absolved of the charges against me is a political conspiracy against me. I am winning the seat again but the rivals are trying to sabotage it.”
Kumar said the woman had accused the MLA and his aides of gang rape in September 2013. The woman later withdrew the charges lodged against him, and some local youths were chargesheeted in the police investigation that followed. The case is still under trial.
Kumar said the victim went missing after she left her house at Jaisinghpur around 7.30 pm on Saturday, telling her parents that she would return in a few minutes. The woman’s family approached the police late that night, when she did not return.
The woman’s body was later found near the boundary wall of the Jaisinghpur primary school. While the injury marks around her neck suggested that she was strangled, findings of a post-mortem report suggested death by hanging.
“The doctors have also raised suspicions of poisoning, and preserved her viscera for further tests. We are sure there was foul play. We are consulting forensic experts in this regard,” Kumar said, adding that an investigation was underway.
Verma, the youngest MLA ever elected in India, emerged victorious from Sultanpur Sadar at the age of 25 in 2012. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had launched the party’s poll campaign in the constituency by addressing a public meeting with him.