As part of the procedure to investigate the accusation of rape against BJP leader and former Abdasa MLA Jayanti Bhanushali, Surat Police on Friday pasted a notice outside the victim’s residence, identifying her by name and asking her to appear before the police with her father.
In her application to the Surat police department on July 10, the 21-year old woman had accused Bhanushali and his driver of raping her. The application was forwarded to Kapodara police station.
Following the accusation, Bhanushali was asked by the BJP leadership to step down from his post until the investigations cleared his name. Bhanushali was vice-president of the Gujarat BJP until Friday.
According to the police, all efforts to locate the woman failed, following which Kapodara police pasted a letter written in Gujarati and signed by Kapodara Police Inspector R L Dave on the wall next to the door of her residence.
The letter, addressed to her father, says, “This is to inform you that your application has reached the Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone 1 office, on July 12. Your application is against Jayantibhai Purshottambhai Bhanushali. Following the application, you and your daughter should remain present before Kapodara police for getting statements, or contact on mobile number of police.” It also mentions the father’s mobile number.
Dave said, “We sent our teams to the house multiple times and took statements of neighbours. They told us they didn’t know anything. We managed to get the woman’s uncle’s mobile number, but it was switched off. We then deployed policemen outside the society in civil dress to keep an eye on her house, but to no avail. We pasted the letter on the wall of her house on Friday when all our efforts to locate her failed.”
About identifying the woman, Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said, “We pasted the letter with an intention of sending a message to her that she should register her statements before Kapodara police in relation to her application. We are making all efforts to locate her and follow official procedures so that we know whether she stands by her statements. We are following the rules.”
He added, “She did not come to give the application, one male person submitted it at the receiving centre of police. We checked our CCTV cameras.”
When The Indian Express correspondent reached the woman’s residence, it was locked. One of the neighbours said the family had recently shifted elsewhere.
“They were staying here for 10 years. Her uncle was staying on the floor below. But her uncle moved out a month ago and started staying at some place on rent. We don’t know why they shifted,” the neighbour said.