Madhya Pradesh ex-minister Raghavji, accused of sexual abuse, arrested

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Bhopal:  Former Madhya Pradesh minister Raghavji, who has been accused of sexual abuse by his domestic help, has been sent to judicial custody till July 22. He was arrested earlier today. Mr Raghavji had been missing ever since a first information report was registered against him on Sunday.

Mr Raghavji had resigned as state finance minister on Friday last after a CD purportedly featuring him surfaced and his domestic help filed a police complaint alleging that he was being sexually exploited by the minister.

The 79-year-old was arrested today from a relative's apartment in old Bhopal after a "vigorous search", the police said.

They said they had a tip-off that Mr Raghavji was inside the apartment, though the main door was locked from outside. The police claimed that they had to break open the door to arrest the ex-minister. He has been taken to hospital for a medical check and will then be produced in court.

The former minister was in Vidisha when the FIR was filed. He allegedly went missing soon after and filed an anticipatory bail plea on Monday, but didn't show up when the state assembly session began that day.

The opposition has alleged that there has been a delay in arresting Mr Raghavji as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan of the BJP was protecting him; Congress leader Ajay Singh alleged that it took six hours to register the FIR.

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But Mr Chouhan has stoutly denied this. Within an hour after the CD had surfaced, the Chief Minister had called Mr Raghavji and asked him to put in his papers. He was suspended the same day by the ruling BJP, which hopes to win a third straight term in the Assembly elections due in a few months from now and can ill-afford such scandals.

Mr Raghavji's family and supporters say the case against him is politically motivated. They allege that the man who has accused him of sexual exploitation had quit a month ago and he was being backed by Congress leaders.


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