Jaipur: Rajasthan minister Babu Lal Nagar, accused of raping a 27-year-old woman at his residence in Jaipur last week, resigned today blaming his political rivals for framing him.
"Nobody asked me to resign. I have resigned on moral grounds to enable an impartial probe," Mr Nagar said. "I won the election thrice and would have won again. But people who wanted to target me politically got this woman to accuse me of a horrible crime like rape." (Watch what he said here)
His exit indicated damage control by the Congress government, already singed by the sensational killing of nurse Bhanwari Devi, for which two party leaders, including a minister, are in jail. Rajasthan goes to polls later this year.
The woman had alleged that the minister, who had helped her in the past, called her to his house on September 11, promising to get her a job. She said the minister took her into a bedroom and raped her. "When I protested, he clamped his hand down on my mouth, hit me and assaulted me," she said, adding that the politician then warned that he would have her killed "like Bhanwari Devi".
The minister has denied rape, but admitted the woman had come to see him. "When she came at 5 pm I was surrounded by people, I met a lot of people then," he said.
The police, accused of delaying action, finally interrogated the 53-year-old minister on Wednesday night, two days after booking him for rape and assault. The bedroom in his house, where the assault allegedly took place, was sealed.
Questions are being raised over the manner in which the woman was taken late last night to the minister's home, to verify the spot where she was allegedly raped by him. Babu Lal Nagar was present at the time. (read: cops take woman to minister's home at night)
Fearing that the police would not register her complaint, the woman had gone to the court, which on Tuesday ordered the police to file a case against the minister.
She says the police didn't respond to her calls for help as she received threats on the phone, allegedly from the minister's supporters. On Tuesday night, she spent hours in a narrow lane behind her home, hiding from cars she said had been sent to spy on her.
"They threatened to kill me, kidnap my son. I have been hiding, running from one place to another," she told NDTV on Wednesday. She has not sent her young son to school for three days.