Accusing the BJP government of shielding its party leaders facing rape charges, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, on Tuesday demanded that the probe into the Naliya sex scandal, that came to light in 2017, be conducted under the supervision of a sitting judge of the Gujarat High Court.
The probe into the incident is currently being conducted by a commission headed by Justice(retd) A L Dave.
Addressing mediapersons in Gandhinagar, the Congress leader alleged that the probe into the rape of a Mumbai-based woman was handed over to a commission with a view to brush the issue under the carpet because the accused involved in the case were powerful politicians of the ruling BJP.
Alleging that the BJP government had not taken any concrete step to instill a sense of confidence among the people in the Naliya rape case, Dhanani said that the woman victim would get justice only if the inquiry was conducted under the overall supervision of a sitting judge of the High Court.
He said that it was really very shameful that a total of 35 women, including minor girls, had been victimised in the sex racket but nothing had come out in the case so far.
When asked no one had so far submitted any affidavit before the probe commission, not even the Congress workers, Dhanani said that it was the Congress that raised the issue outside and inside the Assembly following which the commission was set up. “But the real truth can come out only if the probe is held under the supervision of a sitting judge, and not by a panel headed by a retired judge,” he reiterated.
He said that the government has full information about the incident but was deliberately avoiding to place them before the Assembly “because it would blast many myths about the chaal, charitra and chehra of the BJP”.
Referring to the FIR registered against former BJP MLA Jayanti Bhanushali for allegedly raping a 21-year-old woman, Dhanani said the BJP leader was booked only after the issue was taken up by the media. Bhanushali is yet to be arrested by the police.
Dhanani’s remarks came days after Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had said the state government will remain neutral and won’t influence the ongoing probe into the case.
“The BJP government is doing a lip service to the cause of women by floating slogans like ‘Save Girl Child’. In Gujarat, five women are raped in two days while 18 women go missing every day. It is unfortunate that the ruling BJP prefers to remain silent when women are subjected to such atrocities,” Dhanani said.
He said women in the state are feeling unsafe because of the “involvement” of the BJP leaders in rape cases.
“Moreover, the BJP government is shielding its leaders by not taking action against them,” he said while referring to other rape cases, including the rape of a student in Patan when Anandiben Patel was chief minister and rape and murder of a Koli girl in Junagadh. “Does this indicate that women are safe in Gujarat,” he asked.
— With PTI Inputs