Mumbai: The Shiv Sena today, in an editorial, came out in support of a senior police officer in Mumbai, accused of rape by a 26-year-old model, alleging that it had become "a fashion to create sensation by charging someone for rape and molestation".
Sunil Paraskar, an officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector General in the Mumbai Police, was accused by a 26-year-old model of raping her at a bungalow in Madh Island in Malad in December 2013.
"Honest and upright officers with impeccable record turns overnight into a villain," the Sena said in the party mouthpiece, Saamna, adding, "Media trials in frivolous complaints damages reputation, credibility and career of accused."
The editorial immediately raised eyebrows, prompting questions about the party's stand on grave crimes such as rape.
"The edit, which can be found on http://www.saamana.com clearly states, "there isnt a question of siding anyone but media trials are wrong (sic)"," tweeted Aditya Thackeray, the party's youth wing chief and the son of party president Uddhav Thackeray.
The Sena, in its editorial, had also questioned the delay by the model in filing the case "after six months.
"Yes it took me time to go to the police. He was an additional commissioner at the time, I knew (about) his power, even today he is taking support from Shiv Sena and others," she told the Press Trust of India.
The Shiv Sena is a member of the ruling coalition at the Centre led by the BJP which promised a "zero tolerance" approach to violence against women after it swept to power in the general elections in May.
However two state BJP ministers, in June, made comments that were seen as trivialising rape - while one said the attacks happened "accidentally", another said that they were "sometimes right, sometimes wrong".