Monday, June 17, 2024

Quashing of FIR in ‘unnatural sex’ case might help poll propects of ex-MP minister’s daughter

Veteran BJP leader and former minister Raghavji got a big relief after the Madhya Pradesh High court quashed a decade-old FIR against him lodged on charges of sodomising a youth, observing that the case was a “politically-oriented animosity, which makes the petitioner’s prosecution malicious”.

The former Finance Minister was arrested on charges under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in July 2013 for allegedly sodomising a youth. He was arrested following a complaint lodged by his domestic help in which he claimed that he was sexually assaulted by Raghavji. Raghavji was also expelled from the BJP following his arrest.

Delivering the 22-page judgement last Friday, the high court ordered quashing of the FIR registered at Bhopal’s Habibganj police station. The court also said that all subsequent proceedings pursuant to the said FIR will automatically come to an end.

“Notably, for almost three years, the complainant remained reticent and astoundingly it was only after he left the petitioner’s (Raghavji) house that he felt humiliated and lodged the complaint. It was found that the complainant was hand-in-glove with the leaders of rival political parties and therefore it is nothing but the assimilation of personal and political antipathies, more precisely, a politically oriented animosity, which makes the petitioner’s prosecution malicious,” the court noted in its order.

Further, the court also mentioned about the complainant youth’s father (through affidavit) telling the police about his son not being in a stable mental condition, being a habitual intoxicant, habitual of making fallacious allegations against highly-placed persons of the society and trying to blackmail Raghavji at the behest of the veteran leader’s political rivals.

For Raghavji, who is in his 80s now, the relief comes as too little too late for reviving his political career. However, it might help his daughter’s poll prospects in the run-up to the Assembly elections scheduled this year-end.

People associated with Raghavji told IANS that while the quashing of the FIR is unlikely to revive his political career, the development will certainly boost the electoral prospects of his daughter Jyoti Shah, who is said to be in the race for a BJP ticket from Vidisha district.

Jyoti, who is seen as Raghavji’s political heir, has already served as Vidisha Janpad panchayat chairperson and head of the Vidisha Nagar Palika. She is known to be popular among the BJP cadres in Vidisha district.

Raghavji, who won the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat in 1977 and 1989, had emerged winner from Shamshabad and Vidisha Assembly seats in 2003 and 2008, respectively. Vidisha has long been seen as an impregnable saffron fort in Madhya Pradesh.

The Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency (which comprises eight Assembly segments spread across four districts) has been a BJP stronghold since 1989. While ex-Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee won from there in 1991, former External Affairs Minister late Sushma Swaraj had won the seat in 2009 and 2014.

It’s also seen as the political ‘karmabhoomi’ of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who won the Vidisha Lok Sabha five times between 1991 and 2004, before becoming the CM in 2005.

Raghavji, who won the seat in 1977 and 1989, opted out of the race in 1991 after Vajpayee decided to contest from Vidisha in 1991. However, after winning from both Lucknow and Vidisha, Vajpayee vacated the Vidisha seat.

However, much to the surprise of Raghavji, first-time MLA from Budhni (Sehore), Shivraj Singh Chouhan, was fielded from Vidisha in the subsequent bypoll held in 1991. Not only did Chouhan win, but he went on to emerge victorious in four successive polls from the same seat.

Raghavji, who won the Assembly elections from Vidisha in 2008, fell from grace following the 2013 unnatural sex case.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, Congress managed to win from Vidisha, while the BJP won the remaining four Assembly seats in the central MP district.

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