Maharashtra: BJP seeks Munde resignation over rape charge

The minister has denied allegation, claiming that he is being blackmailed by the complainant and her sister with whom he was in a relationship and has two children.

The BJP has upped the ante against Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde, seeking his resignation from the state cabinet. A woman has accused Munde of rape. The minister, however, denied the allegation and claimed that he is being blackmailed by the complainant and her sister with whom he was in a relationship and has two children.

“Dhananjay Munde, who is heading the social justice ministry, should resign as he has no moral right to be in the post after accusation of sexual exploitation being leveled against him,” State BJP President Chandrakant Patil said.

The party’s women’s wing has also threatened to launch a statewide agitation if Munde did not resign.

On January 11, the woman had sent a written complaint to the Mumbai Police commissioner, stating that Munde had repeatedly raped her in 2006. The woman, in her complaint, claimed that Munde is her brother-in-law and had married her sister in 1998. She claimed that the minister had first raped her in 2006 when she was alone at her home and since then he repeated the act multiple times over the years. She added that Munde had assured her that he would marry her as well and help her get work as a singer in Bollywood.

Munde, who is married and has a young daughter, issued a statement on Tuesday where he acknowledged that he was in a relationship with the complainant’s sister and has two children with her. He added that he had financially supported them and given the children his name. He further said that his family was aware of the relationship and had accepted it.

The minister, however, had denied the charges of rape and claimed that the accusation were part of a conspiracy to blackmail him. Munde said the complainant’s messages can prove his claim.

After Munde acknowledged his relationship with the woman, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya lodged a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner against the minister for concealing details about his family and properties in his election affidavit.

“I have submitted a complaint against Maharashtra Minister Dhananjay Munde to the Election Commission of India for non-disclosure and concealment of facts about his wives, children and properties,” Somaiya said.

“In his affidavit for the October 2017 Maharashtra Assembly elections, he did not disclose facts regarding his two wives, all children and properties in their names. I request to order an inquiry and take appropriate actions,” Somaiya said in the complaint to the EC.

The NCP, meanwhile, said that it will wait for the outcome of the police investigation into the complaint before taking a decision on the minister’s fate.

Munde, meanwhile, spent his day meeting the top NCP brass, including party chief Sharad Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and senior cabinet minister Chaggan Bhujbal. He also attended the state cabinet meeting.

Munde, 45, though a first-term MLA, is deemed to be one of the important leaders of the NCP that he had joined in 2012 after breaking ranks with the BJP and his uncle, Gopinath Munde, as he chose his daughter, Pankaja Munde, to be his heir.

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