Jharkhand cops reach Kanker to probe rape case in which BJP candidate is suspect
The Jharkhand police team’s arrival in Chhattisgarh triggered a political storm with the BJP accusing the Bhupesh Baghel government of hatching a conspiracy to malign the image of Bramhanand Netam’s image fearing defeat in the byelection.
RAIPUR: A team of Jharkhand police reached Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district on Monday in connection with a rape case registered in Jamshedpur in which Bramhanand Netam, the BJP’s candidate for Bhanupratapur assembly by-election, is among the accused, the Chhattisgarh police said.
“On Monday, a team of Telco Police station of Jharkhand reached Kanker to investigate the matter related to a case registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and other sections of IPC, in which Brahmanand Netam, Keshav Sinha, Naresh Soni and Deepankar Sinha are accused. The team has contacted Chhattisgarh and further investigation by the Jharkhand police is going on,” Bastar inspector general Sunderaj P said in a statement.
The move comes days before the December 5 bypolls in Bhanupratapur.
Netam had earlier denied the accusation, calling the allegations ‘a conspiracy hatched by Congress’ to tarnish his image.
Senior Chhattisgarh police officers said that the team conducted searches at the houses of three accused other than Netam. A police officer said the team could take action against Netam over the next two days as well.
The Jharkhand police registered a case on May 15, 2019 at Telco police station in Jamshedpur on charges that a teenage girl was raped and forced to enter the flesh trade.
Congress leaders have claimed that Netam’s name figured in the investigation into the case and five people had already been arrested. They have alleged that Netam was also named in the charge sheet filed by investigators.
Senior BJP MLA and former minister Brijmohan Agrawal said the Jharkhand police team’s presence in the state was a “conspiracy” by Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh and Hemant Soren-led Jharkhand government.
Agrawal insisted that the move followed the Congress’s apprehension that it might face defeat in Bhanupratappur. The people will give a befitting reply to the Congress for the conspiracy to malign the image of an innocent tribal man, he added.
Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel slammed the BJP and asked why it was raising a hue and cry.
“Two days ago, (BJP leader) Brijmohan Agarwal ji had given the challenge to arrest Netam, and if the Jharkhand police have arrived here why is he raising a hue and cry and terming the action as a conspiracy?,” Baghel said.
The case was lodged in May 2019 when Raghubar Das-led BJP government was in power in Jharkhand, he said, adding that BJP should ask Raghubar Das about the conspiracy.
“Why is the BJP supporting a rapist? If they (BJP) have done something wrong (by nominating Netam as the party candidate), then they should accept their mistake. Instead of accepting their mistake, they are trying to hide it,” Baghel said.
Jamshedpur senior superintendent of police Prabhat Kumar, however, said no team has gone to Chhattisgarh in connection with the case.