Minister resigns over rape charge

Gujarat chief minister Naredra Modi with actor John Abraham at a meeting in Gandhinagar on Thursday. 	— PTI

Gujarat chief minister Naredra Modi with actor John Abraham at a meeting in Gandhinagar on Thursday. — PTI

Amid mounting pressure over rape charges against him, Rajasthan minister of state for khadi and dairy Babulal Nagar on Thursday resigned from his post. The minister sent his papers to the chief minister’s office. The police has sped up the probe and is preparing to question Mr Nagar. The Opposition BJP demanded a CBI probe against him while women’s groups sought his arrest.
The 53-year-old Nagar, who represents Fagi Assembly constituency in Jaipur (Rural), said he had resigned on moral grounds. “I am innocent but I resigned to make way for an impartial probe,” said Mr Nagar. Cornered in the party, Mr Nagar said he had made up his mind on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning “I sent in my resignationpapers”, he said. The police booked him while a married woman filed a complaint of rape against him. She said Mr Nagar called her to his official residence on September 11 on the pretext of ensuring she got a job.
The victim alleged that when she visited her residence Mr Nagar sexually assaulted her and threatened tokill her if she opened her mouth. But Mr Nagar said he was being targeted because he was a dalit and that it was a “well-thought-out conspiracy against him”. “I won three successive elections and I’m again going to win, that’s why my political adversaries implicated me in a false case,” he said but admitted that the victim had visited his residence.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who was in Barmer on Thursday, reiterated his statement, saying the law would work on its own. “No one is above the law,” he said. “I said the same thing during the case against Asaram, I directed that the victimbe provided security and asked the police commissioner to ensure a free and fair investigation,” said Gehlot.
The government handed over the probe to the CID crime branch. A police team led by additional SP V.K. Gour took the victim to Mr Nagar’s residence to identify and inspect the site of the crime. A team of doctors conducted a medical examination of the victim. The BJP questioned the CID crime branch probe. BJP leader and MLA Bhawani Singh Rajawat said it was an attempt to hush up the matter. “If the same government asked the CBI to probe the case against Mahipal Maderna, then why has the government given the probe against Nagar to the CID CB,” he asked.
The incident came to light when the ruling Congress was busy with preparations for UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to address rallies. The minister’s resignation is seen as a damage-control exercise.
Nagar has been embroiled in controversies in the past. He was made food and civil supplies minister but chiefminister Gehlot changed his portfolio after complaints against him. Nagar is the second minister with the Congress government who lost his job in view of charges of rape. Earlier, the then water resources minister, Mahipal Maderna, was forced to resign when his name figured in the abduction and murder of a government nurse, Bhanwari Devi, in Jodhpur.

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