Updated: November 30, 2021 4:53:07 pm
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar Tuesday alleged that a minister in the cabinet of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had misused his office and sexually exploited a woman. He said about 20 days ago, two “responsible people” had brought evidence in the form of video, audio and WhatsApp chats to show how the minister sexually exploited the woman.
“It is out of decency and moral responsibility that we are not disclosing the name of the minister yet. There are two families involved in the matter, that of the woman and the minister, who are not at fault in this. We are giving the government 15 days to take action against the minister. He should be sacked and booked for this offence. The ball is now in the court of Dr Pramod Sawant,” Chodankar said at the Congress House in Panaji. There are 12 ministers in the Goa government of which 11 are men.
Refuring the allegations, Goa BJP president Sadanand Tanavade said there was no complaint of any sexual exploitation against any minister and that the allegations were being made as the legislative assembly polls were approaching.
Chodankar also claimed that the incriminating videos and audio files were also shown to the Chief Minister who went out of his way to protect this minister and also to destroy the evidence.
“Someone has misused his power and sexually exploited a woman. This is most condemnable. The CM goes out of his way and tries to destroy evidence. The minister commits this paap (sin) and the CM then commits a ‘maha-paap’. We have also highlighted cases of corruption in the past but something like this cannot be condoned. I am pained to bring this to the people of Goa. He (CM) has misused the police too. How could we keep quiet? Why is the CM supporting something like this? The minister should have been asked to resign and if he didn’t, he should have been sacked but the CM did nothing,” said Chodankar.
Tanavade said he had asked the Chief Minister if there was any complaint of sexual exploitation against any minister but there were none.
Chodankar said videos were shown to him on a mobile phone by a “responsible person” who met him in a restaurant. The videos show the minister in a compromising position, he says and the language he uses against the women is also objectionable. Chodankar further alleged that the concerned minister threated the woman saying he could get away with anything and also heard forcing the woman to undergo abortion.
Mahila Congress president Beena Naik said, “This is very shocking. I appeal he should be immediately sacked, he has created fear among women in his constituency. With his money power, he terrorises everyone, he has been threatening women.”
GPCC general secretary Royla Fernandes said women from across political parties needed to unite and stand up to such exploitation of women.
“We are showing decency and giving the CM 15 days to act against this minister. The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Goa on December 19. Before that, we hope the government will do the right thing. If it doesn’t, we won’t show any mercy after that,” Chodankar.
Asked if he was aware of whether or not the alleged relationship was consensual, Chodankar said, the videos and the audio clips clearly showed there was no consent. He, however, said he had not spoken or met the woman allegedly sexually assaulted by the minister.
Tanavade further said: “If there has been sexual exploitation of a woman, there has to be a complainant. Can you make such allegations without any proof? This is wrong. There has to be proof and even if there isn’t, the woman who they say has been exploited, should be there with a complaint. There are 12 ministers including the CM. Who should we doubt? Even the CM doesn’t know anything about this. No police station has a complaint, no one else has a complaint.”
He added, “This is needless and baseless. They should name the minister; tell us who the woman is. If they can’t, they should not make such fake allegations. Can we take action on somebody’s personal life? An election is coming and anyone can say anything.”
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