Special Correspondent

Madhukar Tandon, charged with rape of a tribal woman 13 years ago, is absconding

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government on Wednesday instructed the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the police to trace and arrest former DIG Madhukar Tandon who has been absconding after being charged with rape of a tribal woman 13 years ago.

The wife of a former constable in Dausa district has alleged that Mr. Tandon kidnapped and raped her in 1997. The victim, accompanied by her husband and Independent MP from Dausa Kirorilal Meena, sat on dharna at the Civil Lines railway crossing near Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence here on Tuesday after being denied an audience with Mr. Gehlot.

Negligence

Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal told reporters here that since the Crime Branch police could not arrest Mr. Tandon, the case was handed over to the SOG, which was “specifically asked to trace and arrest the absconding former DIG”.

Mr. Dhariwal said the Home Department would also look into the facts and circumstances of the case to find out how Mr. Tandon got out of the clutches of law and whose negligence or complicity was responsible for this.

The Minister said he summoned all files relating to the case to gather details. “This is a serious matter. Those who apparently had information about the accused did not arrest him since 1997… We will surely go to the bottom of the matter.”

According to police sources, a raiding party left here for Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday and visited a house said to have been owned by Mr. Tandon.

Mr. Tandon was posted at the police headquarters here when the alleged incident took place on January 21, 1997. The woman, whose husband was a constable attached to the DIG, has alleged that Mr. Tandon forcibly took her to Noida and raped her.

Khayali Ram, the husband of the victim, said at the dharna that Mr. Tandon called his wife from their village to Jaipur saying a family member had met with an accident. She was later forcibly taken to Noida. He also claimed that he was terminated from service in 2002 when he refused to withdraw the case.

Mr. Tandon was suspended from service in 2002, five years after the first information report was registered, and a judicial magistrate at Dausa ordered that his property, including his Noida house, be attached.

Meena arrested

Mr. Meena, arrested along with 13 others at the dharna site early on Wednesday, was shifted to the Central Jail in Ajmer. He was taken into custody under Section 151 (arrest to prevent commission of cognizable offences) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Mr. Meena’s supporters blocked the Jaipur-Agra National Highway in Dausa district to protest his arrest. Protesters at Mahuwa and Bandikui demanded immediate release of Mr. Meena.