Months after the Ganganagar Police told a lower court in the state capital that they could not find Union Minister Nihal Chand Meghwal to serve him a court summons in connection with his alleged involvement in a rape case, this summons is yet to reach Meghwal. The court hearing is slated for Wednesday morning.
Ganganagar superintendent of police Hari Prasad Sharma had told a lower court in August that since Meghwal had become a minister at the center, he could not be found at his Raisinghnagar residence in Ganganagar and the police did not know where he lived in New Delhi. The lower court had then directed Sharma to ensure that the summons is delivered before the next hearing slated for November 12.
In the past three months, the SP has participated in functions along with Meghwal and also posed for photo-ops but could not manage to deliver the summons. Meghwal has frequented his constituency on several occasions such as the Run for Unity campaign on October 31, to adopt a village, for inauguration ceremonies among others. He was in Ganganagar over the last weekend for a function, locals said.
On Tuesday, Sharma told the Indian Express, “It is the Station House Officer’s job to deliver the summons. He should know about it. I have no idea.”
Raisinghnagar SHO Narayan Daan said, “I have no memory of any such summons. Hundreds of them come and have to be delivered. I do not know anything about this.” Asked if he really does not remember of a summons for a Union Minister, Daan said, “We treat everyone equally. It does not matter whether it is for a commoner or a minister.”
Meanwhile Meghwal’s office confirmed that he is yet to receive any court summons and hence need not appear in court. On Tuesday, Meghwal took charge of the Panchayati Raj department as Minister of State shifting out of the Chemicals and Fertilizers ministry. After his name came up in a sexual assault case in June this year, it was speculated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would drop him from his team but no action has been initiated so far.
On Tuesday morning senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted that ‘Modi must respond. How can Rajasthan govt claim that a Minister in GOI can’t be traced? Good governance Mr. Modi.’ The state unit of Congress too has raised questions on the handling of the case.
Chandu Ram Yadav, the alleged victim’s lawyer said, “The police and the minister are making a mockery of law. They are looking for ways to avoid appearing before the court. Initially the minister went missing, now the summons has gone missing. We will still wait for a reply from the Ganganagar police tomorrow.”
Meghwal along with 16 others are accused of sexual assault of a 20-year-old married woman in the state capital. A case was registered by the woman in 2011 but the allegations were dismissed by the investigating authority and a lower court also upheld the closure report submitted by the police. Following a revision petition in June, Meghwal and the other accused were summoned before the court on August 20.