While defending their four-time MP Nihal Chand Meghwal, senior Cabinet ministers in the Vasundhara Raje government point out that when the case was first registered, the Congress government was in power, yet it could not prove him guilty.
“The issue was raked up only after Nihal Chand was appointed Union minister. This is nothing but political vendetta,” says Health Minister Rajendra Rathore, adding that Ashok Gehlot was chief minister when the police gave Nihal Chand a clean chit in 2011. Gehlot hit back, maintaining that his government did not intervene in any police investigation. “We were never vindictive unlike the BJP government that uses its political power to victimise the Opposition.”
Nihal Chand was not an MP when the incident was reported though he had been MP thrice before and now for the fourth time. Some of the other accused were only small-time political workers — both BJP and Congress — and the case did not attract much attention then.
Nihal Chand is named as one of the 16 accomplices of the prime accused, Om Prakash Godara, the victim’s husband.
While in power, the Congress government was fighting its own battles — there were charges against legislator Malkhan Singh Bishnoi and minister Mahipal Maderna in the Bhanwari Devi rape and murder case.
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot said, “The issue is not why the previous Congress government did not take it upon itself to intervene in the police investigation and politicise the matter. We are demanding the tainted minister’s resignation because Prime Minister Narendra Modi chooses to take a moral high ground and says no tainted MP should be in Parliament but appoints one in his own government. He has to walk the talk and prove he means what he says.”