Mumbai

Former BJP MLA booked for rape

Narendra Mehta

Narendra Mehta  

The Mira Road police on Friday registered a case of rape and casteist harassment against former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Narendra Mehta after a former corporator from the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation accused him of sustained exploitation, both on video and in writing.

Mr. Mehta, who resigned from the BJP three days ago, has been booked for rape under the Indian Penal Code along with sections of the Atrocities Act. The victim submitted an application to the Inspector General of Police (Konkan range) on Wednesday and came to the police station to record her statement on Thursday.

“The victim, in her statement, has said that she separated from her husband in 1999 and started working as a marketing executive at a private club, of which Mr. Mehta was the managing director. They grew close and in June 2001, they got married at a temple in Bhayander. However, Mr. Mehta said he preferred to keep their marriage a secret for the time being, as they were from different castes,” an officer with the Mira Road police said.

The officer said while the victim initially refused to have physical relations with him till their marriage was made public, he convinced her to sleep with him, saying he would reveal their marriage “when the time was right.” He allegedly did the same repeatedly, giving different excuses every time, including the fact that he was entering politics and needed to protect his image.

In 2002, the victim became pregnant and asked him to accept her and their child publicly. However, Mr. Mehta allegedly said that he was contesting the municipal elections and his sister was yet to be married, and that such a development would be detrimental for him. Even though he kept promising to make their marriage public, he married his current wife in January 2003, and the victim gave birth to a son in May 2003.

“The victim has said that after her son was born, Mr. Mehta started forcibly having intercourse with her, threatening to kill her son if she did not comply. On several occasions, he would emotionally blackmail her into submission. He also made her quit her job so that she could help him full time in his political career and he went on to get elected as corporator twice before becoming an MLA in 2014. As his clout grew, so did his threats, and the exploitation continued till July 2019,” the officer said.

The victim, according to the police, has named several locations in Mumbai, Delhi, and Nagpur where Mr. Mehta allegedly forced himself on her. The victim, after submitting her application on Wednesday, recorded a video of herself describing the alleged abuse, which went viral on social media.

“We have also booked Mr. Mehta’s associate Sanjay Tarkar who threatened and intimidated the victim on Mr. Mehta’s behalf. Both the accused are absconding and efforts are under way to apprehend them,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 1:53:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/former-bjp-mla-booked-for-rape/article30946827.ece

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