Maya orders Banda rape victim’s release
Lucknow: Going against her party MLA Purshottam Naresh in the Banda rape case, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday ordered the release of the minor Dalit girl, saying theft charges against her were slapped as part of an apparent "conspiracy".
Mayawati also assured that her government will constitute a fast-track court for the teen rape case.
"The charges of theft on the girl appeared to be part of a conspiracy of the MLA to hide his misdeed (rape)," Mayawati said while addressing people at a function here to celebrate her 55th birthday.
"A Crime Branch-CID probe in the matter is on and after its report, the state government will take stern action against the policemen and others involved in harassing the girl," the BSP leader said.
"No one will be allowed to take law into his hand under BSP government. Strict action will be initiated against all those, whosoever they are, who take law into their hands," Mayawati said giving a message to partymen to remain disciplined.
Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court today took suo moto cognizance of the case and ordered the release of the Dalit girl. The HC also directed the state government to provide security to the victim’s family.
Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar too said the theft charges against the victim would be withdrawn.
The release order was issued two days ahead of the hearing on bail application of the girl in a Banda court.
She was arrested following a complaint filed by Dwivedi's brother at Attara police station in December soon after she was allegedly raped by the ruling party legislator.
Earlier, on January 12, cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had claimed that the theft charge against the girl was genuine.
"Sheelu, before fleeing from the MLA's house on December 12, took a mobile phone of his daughter-in-law and Rs 5,000 in cash. She even made 150 calls from the mobile phone," he had told reporters. "The theft case was correct and arrest
justified," he had said.
The continued incarceration of the girl had caused outrage among social activists while political parties also slammed it. Congress had yesterday said it was "absolutely outrageous that the victim is actually behind bars in a false case" while BJP expressed shock at the way the Uttar Pradesh administration had handled the case.
48-year-old Dwivedi, who represents Naraini seat in UP Assembly, was arrested Thursday in connection with the alleged criminal assault on the 17-year-old girl belonging to a backward community. The MLA was later sent to 14 days of judicial remand by a Chief Judicial Magistrate.
The girl was allegedly raped on December 10-11 last year at the legislator's residence. She escaped from the house on December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her for a third time and was arrested on the same day on theft charges.
While the MLA's two aides -- Rajendra Shukla and Surendra Neta -- have been arrested, the third accused Ravan Garg is still absconding.
With PTI inputs