The BJP’s Baghmara candidate and sitting MLA Dulu Mahto, who shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a poll rally on Thursday, faces a sexual assault case and is currently out on provisional bail.
Mahto is accused of allegedly sexual assaulting a BJP worker in 2015.
According to the affidavit filed by Mahto and uploaded on the EC website, the woman alleged that he called her to a guesthouse in connection with party work and sexually assaulted her. She also alleged that an aide of Mahto later told her that if she does not accept his proposal, she would be “destroyed”.
A case was registered this year at Katra police station under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376 (punishment for rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), among others. The charges have not been framed yet.
The woman had earlier moved the Jharkhand High Court, which asked why an FIR was not lodged against the legislator. The police then registered the FIR in October this year.
A video had gone viral in 2018 where the woman is purportedly heard saying that if she does not get justice she would immolate herself in front of Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the woman said, “I worked with the BJP for 15 years, but could not get justice from my own party, so I left it. After I filed the case online in November 2018, nobody listened… I had to take help of the HC to get an FIR registered. But till date, police have not called me for a statement.”
Jharkhand DGP K N Choubey said, “After the case was registered, we arrested Mahto and he got bail. We are investigating and will take action accordingly.”
Jharkhand BJP general secretary Deepak Prakash said the court would decide whether anyone had committed a crime. When asked what message it would send if the PM is seen with a sexual assault accused, he said: “It appears the case was political. But once the court decides, the state BJP will take a call. Until then Mahto is just an accused.”