After initially denying that a person accused of outraging the modesty of a poor woman was even a party member, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday suspended him after sustained media pressure.

On Sunday, the Malabar Hill police registered a case against Mohan alias Pappi Saini for outraging the modesty of a fisherwoman. He was booked under sections 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code. Mohan Saini was the party’s president of ward 214 in Malabar Hill.

The victim alleged that the local police were under pressure against taking any strong steps against the politician. The police station declined to confirm whether the accused was a BJP functionary. The BJP MLA from Malabar Hill Mangal Prabhat Lodha told The Hindu, “He is not even a party member. It is wrong to say that he is a ward president of the party.”

After this correspondent called the Mumbai president of the BJP, Raj Purohit, and told him that though the local MLA had denied that the accused was even a party member, there were photographs of banners in the Malabar Hill area which showed the accused as the party’s president of ward 214, he informed The Hindu that he had decided to suspend him with immediate effect.

“There is no place in the party for those who commit any crimes against women. I have told the South Mumbai president that Mohan Saini is suspended with immediate effect,” Mr. Purohit told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, the victim told The Hindu that the accused abused her in lewd language. “I was perennially scared to step out of the house. He first tried to lure me by saying that he will build my house for free, in return for sexual favours. But when I refused, he started threatening me. My husband too dared not speak against him as he is the local BJP functionary,” the 27-year-old victim said.

She said the police took a month to register her complaint.