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Banda rape: Mayawati orders arrest of BSP MLA, three aides

January 12, 2011 20:32 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday issued orders for the arrest of Bahujan Samaj Party member of legislative assembly Purshottam Naresh Dwivedi and his three aides after the crime branch submitted its preliminary report confirming that they gang-raped a 17-year-old Dalit girl in Banda, about 180 km from Lucknow.

"As per the preliminary report submitted by the Criminal Investigation Department, the girl was kept under illegal confinement for four days from December 8 to December 12. On the night of December 11 and 12, she was raped twice, not only by the MLA but also by his cohorts," UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told mediapersons on Wednesday evening.

"A case has already been registered against the MLA and his three henchmen -- Rajendra Shukla, Surendra Neta and Ravan Garg -- under sections 376 and 354 of the Indian Penal Code and orders have been issued for their immediate arrest," he said.

However, Dwivedi was not arrested until late Wednesday evening even as police confirmed his presence in Lucknow. "We are trying to track him down," a senior police official.

Meanwhile, The 17-year-old victim, who was jailed for alleged theft at the MLA's resident, is still behind bars. According to Singh, preliminary probe shows that the girl was guilty of stealing Rs 5,000 and a mobile phone from Dwivedi's house. It has been found that she made about 150 calls from that mobile phone thereby making her also culpable."

The action against the BSP MLA was initiated only after a lot of criticism from the Opposition and media bashing. Singh said, "This government never spares the guilty. It was absolutely baseless on the part of the opposition parties to be accusing the government of shielding the MLA."

However, opposition parties say that BSP's stand on the issue was a complete eyewash. The Congress MLA from Banda Vivek Singh, said, "If the government was sincere, it would have ordered release of the poor girl, who was jailed simply because she dared to speak up against the MLA."

Flaying the Mayawati administration, Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said, "The fact that the police are not able to arrest the MLA, who was seen roaming around freely in the state capital, clearly reflects the government's real intentions."

Meanwhile, the role of Banda Superintendent of Police AK Das was also under scrutiny as he tried to allegedly coerce the rape victim and her father not to name the MLA as the culprit. The CID team has pointed out that the SP even violated the jail manual by forcing himself inside the prison cell where the girl was lodged without making the requisite entry in the jail register.
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow