Guwahati, April 28 (IANS) The Gauhati High Court on Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Assam Congress leader Pranjit Choudhury, who is missing and reportedly on the run for more than three weeks after being booked for cheating, rape and forcible abortion.
Assam Police had earlier served two notices and conducted searches at Choudhury’s residences in Guwahati and Kamalpur to look for him.
A woman filed a police complaint against Choudhury — one of the general secretaries of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee — that he was sexually exploiting her after promising to marry her.
She also alleged that Choudhury had forced her to undergo an abortion before ditching her recently.
Police have registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code against Choudhury on charges of cheating, rape and forcible abortion.
Choudhury contested the just concluded assembly election from Kamalpur constituency as a Congress candidate.
“The court gave a patient hearing to our appeal and rejected the bail plea of Choudhury. His counsel expressed reservation over the rape charge, saying the woman was aged 23 years and the sexual intimacy was consensual. However, we submitted to the court that it was inducement,” public prosecutor B.S. Sinha told IANS on Thursday.
“After hearing both sides, the court rejected Choudhury’s bail application,” he said.
The issue has snowballed into a major political controversy, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party accusing the ruling Congress of protecting Choudhury.
“He was given shelter by leaders of the ruling party and so police have failed to catch him,” said Assam BJP leader Prashanta Phukan.