March 22, 2021 2:59:24 am
The BJP on Sunday suspended a party leader, Durlabhji Patel alias DK Patel, hours after he was booked for allegedly assaulting and outraging the modesty of a woman in Amreli. Patel’s suspension comes just two weeks after he was elected to an urban local body (ULB) in the district on March 2. In 2015, while serving as the president of the ULB, the politician had been arrested for taking bribe, the police said.
Based on a complaint filed by a woman, the Amreli police booked Patel under IPC sections 354 for assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 354-A for physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures, and 451 for house trespass.
In her complaint, the woman, who was widowed in 2008, stated Patel had barged into her residence in a town in Amreli district on March 17 morning. “Knowing that he was a councillor of the municipality, I enquired as to what I may require to do if I wanted to construct a home under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. In response, DK Patel told me that I and my daughter may have to go to his farmhouse and stay there for two hours there,” the woman stated. The accused, the complainant said, also took her mobile phone and dialled his number with an intent to know her phone number.
“He (Patel) then asked my daughter to bring him a piece of blank paper so that he can write down his mobile phone number. Instead of my daughter, I went inside a right-hand side room of my house to fetch a paper. Patel followed me inside the room and assaulted me,” the woman, a mother of three girls, stated in her complaint.
The woman said she manged to run out of the room even as her daughter cried out for help following which the politician left the house. Since the March 17 incident, the woman said, Patel had called her thrice and demanded sexual favours.
The woman had come in contact with Patel in 2018 when she had met the politician to get her one of daughters transferred from Amreli to a school in Surat, where she wanted to migrate to start a business.
“The victim made a representation to the Superintendent of Police of Amreli and later submitted a complaint to us. On the basis of her complaint, we have booked Patel for using criminal force on a woman. However, he has not been arrested so far,” a police officer of Amreli said.
The FIR against the politician was registered on Saturday evening, following which the BJP suspended Patel from the party.
In a letter to Patel, Kaushik Vekariya, president of Amreli district unit of Amreli stated, “As per instructions from the state BJP, you are hereby informed that the act you have indulged in does not behove to a worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party… Therefore, you are being relieved from all the responsibility of the BJP and hereby suspended from the party.”
Patel’s suspension from the party comes just two weeks after he was re-elected to the ULB that he had headed in 2015.
According to the police, Patel is a history-sheeter and was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in November 2015 for allegedly taking Rs 1 lakh in bribe from a contractor while he was heading the ULB.
Asked if the BJP was aware about the criminal antecedents when it gave Patel ticket to contest the civic body polls again last month, Vekariya said: “We were aware about this but he was given a party ticket following demand from local workers.”
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