Navi Mumbai Shiv Sena chief Vijay Chougule, against whom a 23-year-old woman registered a rape case last month, has resigned from his post. Chougule, however, insists the charges are politically motivated.
Chougule has secured an interim bail extension till January 16, from the Thane sessions court.
Chougule, who tendered his resignation on Thursday, said, “The charges pressed against me are politically motivated, engineered by my opponents.”
“A BJP-Shiv Sena government is in power in the state and I am the district chief. I do not want there to be any pressure on the police due to the position I hold. I want to ensure impartial investigations in the case, and hence have tendered my resignation. Till I am acquitted in the case, I have decided to work as a normal party member and not hold any post. Once I am proved innocent, I will start work again, as per my system.”
Asked about his bail extension, Chougule said, “I have obtained interim bail, not the permanent one. I will approach the high court for permanent bail and also ask for the case against me to be quashed. We have submitted 15 pieces of evidence against the baseless allegation.”
Claiming that the charges has been trumped up by political opponents, he said, “Every time there is an election, some old case is raked up and allegations are made against me. This case too has been lodged by my opponents, who fear they will lose the next NMMC elections. I have full faith in the judiciary and am confident the truth will be out soon. Once I am cleared, I will give details to the media.”
In a complaint lodged against Vijay Chougule at CBD police station on the night of December 17, the complainant, a resident of the area, alleged Chougule had raped her repeatedly over the past three years, at several places including Goa and Lonavla.
She claimed Chougule had threatened dire consequences if she disclosed the matter to anyone. She also named a man identified as Tanaji Surve as a co-accused, saying he would keep a watch while Chougule raped her. Surve was arrested but later released on bail.