I was sodomised by ex-Minister, associates for over 3 years, claims youth

The 29-year-old youth from Vidisha, who had complained to the police that he was subjected to sodomy by the former Finance Minister, Raghavji, met the Press along with Opposition leader Ajay Singh on Sunday morning. The youth had been missing since he complained at the Habibganj police station on Friday morning, giving rise to speculation that he had been neutralised with police connivance.

On Sunday, he was questioned by the Habibganj police for more than six hours, before an FIR was registered. Almost immediately the BJP expelled Mr. Raghavji from the party. State BJP president Narendra Tomar said, “When the boy was missing, it was hard to believe that Raghavji could have done all this. But after the boy has gone to the police, all senior leaders of the party decided to dismiss Raghavji.”

Mr. Raghavji, who remains an MLA, told ETV that he was being punished twice for the same crime. “The party has removed me like a fly. I can be arrested any time,” he said before disconnecting. The veteran BJP leader, who had a clean track record, turned 79 on Sunday.

The victim alleged that he had been raped by Mr. Raghavji and his associates for three and a half years before he exposed them as they had threatened to kill him and his family. “My family was threatened and also lured with money by Raghavji’s personal assistant and BJP MLA Hari Singh Sapre. The police, sent by the CM, brought my father and brother here to file a missing person report.”

He added that Shiv Shankar Pateriya, who was suspended from the BJP on Saturday, used to frequent Mr. Raghavji’s home where he lived. “He gave me a pen camera and asked me to record what I was undergoing. He said he would help me.”

Mr. Ajay Singh has asked Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to resign for allegedly interfering with the investigation. “Newspapers have reported that Shivrajji saw the CDs before asking Raghavji to quit. [The former Union Law Minister] Ashwani Kumar had to quit when it was found that he had seen the CBI’s report on the coal block allocations. Shivraj, who belongs to the same BJP that demanded Ashwaniji’s resignation, should also quit.”

He added that the both the police, who took their own time in video-recording the victim’s interrogation, and Mr. Raghavji had violated the victim’s fundamental rights. “Immediate action should be taken against Raghavji without any special treatment,” he said.

Political analyst N.D. Sharma told The Hindu that action against Raghavji spoke more of the party’s internal squabbles in Vidisha, Lok Sabha Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj’s constituency, than it did about the government’s righteousness.

“Minister Tukoji Rao Pawar spent three days in jail even as he remained Minister of State for Tourism, in 2008. After Shivraj was elected, Pawar was elevated to the Cabinet. This rapid dismissal [of Raghavji] without a show-cause notice or anything is nothing but rivalry. In any case, this is a huge embarrassment for the party, which is working to the detriment of Shivraj even after Raghavji’s dismissal,” he said.

A BJP MLA, speaking on condition of anonymity said, “While this may look like some internal rivalry, the person who has benefited the most is Ajay Singh. He single-handedly managed this attack against our party. We will have to come up with a befitting reply to contain him politically.”

The monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha begins on Monday. The Congress has given a notice for a no-trust motion against the government accusing it of corruption and misgovernance.