Maharashtra: BJP leader arrested for repeatedly raping minor on pretext of marriage
The BJP leader befriended the minor and raped her on several occasions in a hostel run by his mother in Gadchiroli district.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Maharashtra's Gadchiroli was today arrested for allegedly repeatedly raping a minor under the pretext of marriage.
The accused Ajay Yenganti is the taluka in-charge of Sironcha tehsil in Gadchiroli district. Yenganti, also a sand contractor, is considered a close aide of minister of state for tribal development Raje Ambrishrao Atram.
The girl was married off at an early age following which she fled her in-laws' home and took shelter at a hostel run by the mother of the accused Shakuntala Yenganti at Ankisa in Gadchiroli.
Yenganti befriended the minor and raped her on several occasions inside the hostel on the pretext of marriage. A case has been registered under section 376 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 9, 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act 2012.
"The girl ran away after she was married off by her parents at an early age. When her parents refused to accept her, she shifted to the hostel where the accused befriended her. He then lured her and repeatedly raped her by making false promises of marriage," Tejaswini Patil, sub inspector at Gadchiroli Police station told India Today.
"We have registered a case of rape against the leader. Since the victim is a minor, a case has also been registered under the POCSO Act" Patil added.
The district Children's Welfare Committee directed the police to register a case after the victim approached them and narrated her ordeal.
"The minor tried to run away from the hostel several times but failed. She managed to approach us and narrated her ordeal after which, we directed the police to register a case," said VR Khune, chairman of Children's Welfare Committee, Gadchiroli.
The Opposition alleged that there was a delay in the case being filed as the accused belongs to the ruling party and is also a close aide of Atram.
"The case should have been registered long ago, but it was done only after the Children's Welfare Committee intervened and directed the cops to do so. Why was there a delay in the filing of the case? Was there pressure on the cops? Was it because of the proximity of the accused to the minister? It needs to be investigated thoroughly," said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.
This is not the first such case from Gadchiroli district involving a BJP leader in a rape case. Another BJP leader was earlier arrested from Gadchiroli for raping a woman in a moving bus, a video clip of which had gone viral.
-With Vyankatesh Duddamvar in Gadchiroli