Sack Rajasthan Food Minister: BJP

Special Correspondent
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It’s political conspiracy: Babulal Nagar

A day after the police registered a case of sexual assault against Food and Civil Supplies Minister Babulal Nagar, pressure was mounting on the Congress-led government in Rajasthan on Wednesday for removing him ahead of the Assembly elections. The BJP has demanded a CBI inquiry into the charges against Mr. Nagar.

With the BJP all set to exploit the issue in its election campaign and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi scheduled to visit the State later this week, the case has brought embarrassment to the Ashok Gehlot government here.

The case, slowly developing into a scandal, is likely to create difficulties for the ruling party. The former Minister, Mahipal Maderna, and Congress MLA Malkhan Singh are already in jail in connection with the infamous Bhanwari Devi murder case of 2011.

While the BJP Mahila Morcha took out a protest march and burnt an effigy of Mr. Nagar near the Chief Minister’s residence, demanding his dismissal and arrest, State BJP president Vasundhara Raje sought a CBI inquiry. “It is shocking. This case reflects the condition of women in Rajasthan,” Ms. Raje told reporters at the BJP State headquarters here.

The police have registered a case under Sections 376 (rape) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code against Mr. Nagar following a direction from a Judicial Magistrate, with whom a woman had filed her complaint. Since the matter involves a member of the Assembly, it has been referred to the CID-Crime Branch for investigation.

The woman has alleged in her complaint that Mr. Nagar, who she knew, had called her to his official residence in Civil Lines on September 11. She stated that the Minister thrashed and raped her and later threatened her with “dire consequences” if she revealed the incident to anyone.

“Political conspiracy”

Though Mr. Nagar has admitted that he had met the woman during his interaction with the public at his residence, he denied the rape charge and described the case as “political conspiracy.” He said the woman had earlier made similar complaints to the police against a man from whom she extorted money.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters on the sidelines of the Jaipur Metro inaugural run that the law would be allowed to take its course in the case.

  • No one is above law, says Gehlot

  • BJP all set to exploit the issue in poll campaign

  • Rape charge against Babulal Nagar becomes major embarrassment for Gehlot government



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