Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati on Sunday ordered suspension of her party MLA Purshottam Narain Dwivedi for his alleged involvement in the gang rape of a minor girl in a village of Banda district, abut 180 kilometers from Lucknow.
The announcement of the suspension came amidst echoing criticism of the ruling party by top opposition leaders ,who went about pointedly accusing Mayawati of "shielding the rapist of a minor girl belonging to a backward community."
"Besides ordering immediate suspension of the MLA from the party, the chief minister has also made it loud and clear that Dwivedi would be expelled from the party and even put behind bars if he were found guilty,' state cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told mediapersons in Lucknow on Sunday afternoon.
"However, if the CID did not find the charges against him to be true, his suspension would be revoked," he added.
Seventeen-year old Sheelu Nishad had pointedly accused BSP MLA Pushottam Narain Dwivedi and his henchmen of not only subjecting her to gangarape, but also using his undue influence in the area to falsely implicate the girl in a case of theft.
Dwivedi accused her of stealing the legislator's licensed revolver and Rs 5000 from his house, for which she was currently lodged in the Banda jail.
Singh claimed, "The chief minister has always been very sensitive on such issues and has never hesitated in taking prompt punitive action against anyone, including her own partymen, if they were found involved in anti-social or criminal activities."
"On the contrary, chief ministers of other political parties rarely showed such courage in initiating action against their own party leaders accused of criminal activities,' he said, while giving out a long list of offences committed by leaders of different political parties as also citing other major crimes committed during successive regimes in the state.
Besides citing a number of such cases of the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime, he also went as far back as the early '80s to cite the case of the murder of then chief minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh's brother Justice C S P Singh, who was gunned down in broad daylight.
The UP cabinet secretary also questioned National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission chairman P L Punia's right to seek a report from the district magistrate in the Banda rape case.
"As chairperson of the commission, he has no right to directly seek any report from a district magistrate,' he said.
Asked if the CID was given a time frame to complete the probe, Singh said, "Well, no time-frame was fixed, but normally they take a minimum of three weeks to submit a preliminary report."