With Ganganagar MP Nihal Chand Meghwal being dropped as MoS in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the woman who had accused him of rape in 2011 says the move is “the first silver lining in five years.” The woman said she was now hopeful of a fair investigation.
“It is certainly a good move if he has been removed, maybe we will get justice now. There has been immense pressure right from the start. The police was not even registering an FIR in 2011 and it was only upon court’s direction that they did so,” the complainant told The Indian Express.
The woman, who hails from from Abubshahar in Haryana’s Sirsa district, had married Om Prakash of Hanumangarh, Rajasthan, in December 2010. In 2011, the couple shifted to Jaipur. However, she alleged that her husband had political ambitions and he would lace her meals with sedatives after which she was sexually assaulted by strangers. The allegations against Meghwal were levelled in 2011, and he was accused of being one of the men who abused the woman.
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Subsequently, an FIR was registered in Jaipur’s Vaishali Nagar police station in November 2011. However, in 2012, the police filed a final report stating that the claims were untrue. She then approached the courts once again, but the Metropolitan Magistrate too dismissed her plea, holding the police’s final report as valid.
In 2013, she again filed a protest petition through her lawyer Chandu Ram Yadav. Meanwhile, Meghwal was re-elected to the Lok Sabha for a fourth term and also made a Union minister.
It was during this period that the court summoned Meghwal. His lawyer A K Jain, however, had said that “No case is made out against the MP as first the police and then the court has dismissed her claims. The case is being unnecessarily dragged by her.”
The case is since being heard in the ADJ court. Another reason for the delay was that the ADJ hearing the case was transferred, and hence the arguments in the case had to begin again.
On Tuesday, when Meghwal was dropped, this case, apart from his unsatisfactory performance, was said to have played a role, even though party leaders cited the fact that he was retained for two years despite the case making headlines.
The woman’s advocate, Chandu Ram Yadav, said that the next hearing in the case will be Wednesday. MP Nihal Chand could not be reached for comments.