Congress Demands Dismissal of Union Minister Named in Rape Case

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FILE photo: Nihal Chand Meghwal, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertiliser

Jaipur:  Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilizer Nihal Chand Meghwal has been issued notice by a district court in Jaipur in connection with a four-year-old rape case.

The Congress has demanded the resignation of Mr Meghwal, 42, the only representative from
Rajasthan in Mr Modi's council of ministers.

"After Narendra Modi's speech, today is testing time for him. It is a serious issue and the PM must immediately dismiss him. All the talks about austerity and transparency, they must think about it," said Congress leader Sachin Pilot.

The minister was named in a first information report or FIR filed in 2011 by a woman who alleges that her husband repeatedly drugged her and then allowed his friends, among them Mr Meghwal, to rape her. She alleged that her husband, a property dealer with reported links to many junior politicians, did this to further his political career.

The Rajasthan police had, in 2012, closed the case saying the charges were false and fabricated.

The woman had then approached a district court which, too, dismissed the charges. She appealed, following which additional district judge Prem Prakash Gupta issued notices to Mr Meghwal and 17 others in this case on Thursday, asking them to respond by August 20.

Mr Meghwal, who was part of a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister this evening, was the last to leave and is believed to have explained his position to him.

The BJP, soon after, ruled out the minister's resignation.

"In December 2012, the police which was under the Gehlot government had filed a final report and a closure report. The same was accepted by the metropolitan magistrate in February 2014. Now, that's the fact of the case. If there is anything further, it will be replied according to law," said BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh.

The woman alleged that her husband and her brother-in-law used to sexually exploit her, drug her and supply her to various influential people.

Her first information report or FIR, along with Mr Meghwal, also names 17 others, including an ex-MLA, a police officer and a former president of the Rajasthan university.

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