Ex-BJP MLA Narendra Mehta booked for rape

(Eds: Adds Shiv Sena reaction) Thane, Feb 28 (PTI) Former BJP MLA Narendra Mehta was on Friday booked for alleged rape and harassment of a woman corporator in Bhayandar town of Maharashtra's Thane district on Friday, police said.

His associate Sanjay Tharthare has also been booked in the case, they said.

The district rural police lodged an FIR against Mehta, who resigned from the BJP three days ago, and his associate, an official from the Mira-Bhayandar police station said.

No arrest has been made till now.

A video of the corporator purportedly speaking about the alleged harassment and abuse she suffered at the hands of Mehta went viral on social media two days ago, the official said.

The victim alleged the abuse by Mehta had been going on since 1999 and her family faces threat from the former legislator from Mira-Bhayandar, he added.

Mehta and Tharthare were booked under section 376 (rape) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and also the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, he said.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik demanded the immediate arrest of Mehta, saying it was a 'tragedy' that the BJP, which raises the issue of women's safety in the state, had not taken any action against its leader.

'Law and order issue will arise if such a person (facing rape and harassment charges) roams freely. He should be arrested as soon as possible,' Sarnaik said.

The Thane legislator also termed Mehta as 'Marathi- hater' and alleged that he had once questioned Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's culture.

'I wonder why the BJP did not take strict action against Mehta, it needs to introspect,' Sarnaik said. PTI COR ENM ARU RSY RSY