Jaipur: Union Minister Nihal Chand Meghwal, who has been 'untraceable' in the past, on Wednesday failed to appear before a court here in connection with a case of rape and blackmail filed by a woman in June against him and others.
According to reports, Meghwal, who was due to appear before the court along with 16 others, did not turn up for the second time and, instead, sent his lawyer.
The lawyer of the 43-year-old minister, who was asked to appear along with 16 others in court in connection with the case, claimed that his client has not received any summons in the past six months.
"It is not necessary for the minister to appear. We are going to initiate action against the person who made the false complaint," his lawyer AK Jain was quoted as saying.
Jain also claimed that the woman in her complaint had not named Meghwal as an accused.
The Jaipur court later adjourned hearing in rape case against Meghwal till December 6.
Interestingly, Meghwal on Tuesday took charge as minister of state for panchayati raj after a change of portfolio in the recent Union Cabinet reshuffle.
The minister reportedly appeared before the press in the company of another MoS Ramkripal Yadav and his boss and newly-inducted Cabinet minister for rural development Birender Singh before proceeding to take charge of his office on the first floor of Krishi Bhavan.
Earlier in August, the police in Meghwal's home constituency Ganganagar had told the court that they "could not find the minister" at his address as he had moved to Delhi.
Since then Meghwal has reportedly made multiple appearances in Ganganagar and has even been photographed with the district's top police officer Hari Prasad Sharma - who had been ordered to ensure that the minister received the court summons.
On October 30, Sharma joined the minister for a "Run for Unity" to mark Sardar Patel's birth anniversary. Days before that, Meghwal adopted a village at a very public event, apparently also overlooked by the police.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted this morning, "The case of missing Minister Meghwal becomes more mysterious. Raj Police can't find him although SP of the District has photo op with him !"
The case of missing Minister Meghwal becomes more mysterious. Raj Police can't find him although SP of the District has photo op with him !
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) November 12, 2014
Aam Aadmi Party's Yogendra Yadav commented, "Modi government's minister Nihal Chand Meghwal is missing. Will Prime Minister help find him?"
Meghwal, a minister of state, was shifted from Chemicals and Fertilizers to Panchayati Raj in Sunday's cabinet expansion, but he was not dropped despite the political controversy over the rape case.
The BJP alleges that Meghwal was framed by the previous Congress government of Rajasthan.