Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Raghavji resigned on Friday after his former aide filed a police complaint that he was sodomised by the Minister for the last three years.
The BJP veteran turns 79 on Sunday.
At 8 a.m, the former aide filed a complaint against Mr. Raghavji at the Habibganj police station along with a sworn affidavit describing his ordeal. He accused Mr. Raghavji, his aide Sher Singh Chauhan and brother-in-law Suresh Chauhan of forcibly sodomising him from 2010 to 2013.
He had stayed in the Minister’s official residence here. He was helped by Mr. Raghavji to find work as Assistant Accountant at Som Distilleries’ office in Bhopal. After facing threats to his life, he got another aide, Ghanshyam Kushwah, to film his being sodomised by Mr. Raghavji. After this, he left the Minister’s residence and his job. Both the complainant and Kushwah, who belongs to Mr. Raghavji’s native Vidisha district, are not available.
The police did not give the victim a receipt of his complaint. No IPS officer came on record when contacted by this paper. Police sources confirmed that the complaint would be registered as an FIR after examining a CD and getting the medical report of the complainant.
Mr. Raghavji said, “At 10.30 a.m. I was asked by the CM [Shivraj Chouhan] on the phone to fax my resignation, which I did. He said he would speak to me after his return from Raipur... That fellow [the complainant] is too small a man for me to charge him with defamation.”
Mr. Raghavji’s wife Hiraben said, “He used to stay with us because rents are high in Bhopal. He used to only massage him [Raghavji]. All these accusations in the media did not happen.” In a separate affidavit accessed by this paper, Kushwah accused Mr. Raghavji of forcing him to massage his genitals with oil and antiseptic ointment.
Speaking to the press in Raipur, Mr. Chouhan said, “Mr. Raghavji’s resignation was forwarded to the Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, who accepted it. Minister Jayant Mallayya will handle the portfolios of Mr. Raghavji.”
‘Party cannot suffer’
The BJP officially maintained that all allegations against Mr. Raghavji were mala fide. A senior party leader however told this paper, “He had to go. He was warned earlier when another CD surfaced two years ago. He was Shivraj ji’s rival, yet he was accommodated in the Cabinet. We decided that the party should not suffer for one person.”
The monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha begins on Monday. The opposition Congress has already given notice for a no-trust motion. Its leader in the House Ajay Singh said that though his party’s focus was on corruption and misgovernance, moral corruption was a bigger evil.
“The whole State has to hang its head in shame after what he has done. We demand that an FIR be registered and action taken. I will write to the DGP to provide the victim security,” he told this reporter.
Mr. Raghavji held this as a conspiracy though he refused to blame the Congress.
He also denied being blackmailed by any one. BJP MLA Deepak Joshi, knowing for taking the moral high ground at the detriment of his party, said, “If politicians behave like this, people will lose their trust in democracy.”
Mr. Ragahvji, who has earlier had a long innings in parliament, was not expected to contest elections this year. He has been the Finance Minister for almost a decade. The geographic positions of MP and Gujarat, who oppose the GST, make it imperative for the Centre to bring them on board to make the scheme a success. His daughter Jyoti Shah, the Mayor of Vidisha, is considered a frontrunner for his Assembly seat of Vidisha.