Rape charge: Cong presses for Minister`s removal

Congress stepped up its attack on Union Minister Nihalchand Meghwal, seeking his removal.

New Delhi: Congress today stepped up its attack on Union Minister Nihalchand Meghwal, seeking his removal, saying it is a "shame" that a person charged with rape continues to be in government even as BJP contended that he is being "falsely implicated".

Mahila Congress workers also staged a protest outside BJP headquarters here demanding resignation of the 43-year-old Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Congress spokesperson P C Chacko said, "It is a shame for the government that a person, who is accused of a heinous crime like rape and has been summoned by the court, still continues in the government.

"Now they (the government) say they will follow the legal course. This is too much.... The minister should not be allowed to continue even for a moment", he said.

He added that the government should act on moral grounds in this case and not politically. BJP, however, defended Nihalchand, saying "there is nothing substantial against him" and that he was being "falsely implicated" while terming the charges against him as "politically motivated".

"He (Nihalchand) has been exonerated by the authorities during the previous Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan after nothing has been found against him. The police is reinvestigating the matter and he is cooperating.

"As long as there is nothing substantial against him, we cannot take action against him," BJP Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said.

Nihalchand on his part refused to comment on the controversy involving him in the rape incident as alleged by the survivor. "No comments," he said when asked about the allegations against him.
Lekhi said just as it is wrong to indulge in activities as alleged by the woman, it is equally important that nobody can be falsely implicated either or harrassed like that. "A balance has to be maintained," she said.
She said today the rape survivor has come up with fresh facts which she did not come up with earlier and unless the other version is heard no action can be taken against him.

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