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Rape allegations against Maharashtra minister: Opposition stages a walkout

Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar demanded a probe into the allegations made by a woman against the minister.

mumbai Updated: Aug 01, 2017 01:28 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra,Devendra Fadnavis,BJP
A minister of the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Maharashtra has been accused of rape.(HT Files)

A minister of the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government has been accused of rape. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar demanded a probe into the allegations made by a woman from Sangli district against the minister, who is not from BJP, but from one of the party’s smaller allies.

In the state assembly, Pawar claimed he had a CD to prove the allegations. The Opposition staged a walkout from the lower house, even after Speaker Haribhau Bagade ordered a probe into the allegations.

Meanwhile, Fadnavis clarified that the victim withdrew her complaint the very next day saying it was filed owing to a misunderstanding. “In her video statement before the police, she said the complaint filed a day before was out of misunderstanding. She had a dispute with a person named Prashant Jadhav and was under the impression that the minister was helping Jadhav against her. After realising that it was not so, she withdrew the complaint and has now nothing against the minister,” Fadnavis said.

Hours after CM’s clarification, a video clip surfaced on social media showing a woman alleging harassment by the minister.

In the unverified video, a woman with her face half covered says, “I have been harassed and was forced to withdraw the complaint. Whatever I gave in writing was due to tremendous pressure. I would have been murdered if I had not withdrawn the complaint.” She further claimed of getting threats.

However, there is no clarity on when the video was shot, and if it is the woman Pawar mentioned. Refuting the allegations the accused minister said, “She is a journalist and I have met her only at press meets. Probe is going on and I am sure truth will prevail,” he said.

Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, leader of opposition in the assembly demanded minister’s resignation. “Considering the gravity of the case, the minister should resign from his post immediately,” Patil told HT.

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First Published: Jul 31, 2017 15:43 IST