High court prompts Mayawati to release Banda rape victim

Prompted by an Allahabad High Court directive, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Saturday ordered the release of a 17-year-old rape victim whom a ruling Bahujan Samaj party lawmaker had falsely implicated in a theft case.

Though it was a court holiday, senior judge Justice Rajesh Agrawal decided to take suo motto cognizance of the case and promptly constituted a division bench comprising Justice Imtiaz Murtaza and Justice S.C. Agrawal to take up the torture and harassment of the girl by her alleged tormentor BSP MLA Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi, following which her release was ordered.

Taking serious note of the MLA’s threats to those who were responsible for raising the issue, following which he was arrested and jailed, the bench also directed the state government to provide immediate protection to the girl.

The court has fixed Jan 18 as the next date for hearing the case.

Within minutes of the court ruling, the chief minister’s official machinery got into action to hastily declare that it was her decision to release the victim.

The chief minister was still at the last lap of her 55th birthday celebrations, inaugurating a newly set up Sewage Treatment Plant, when Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh hurriedly called mediapersons covering the event and made the announcement.

“The chief minister has ordered immediate release of the rape victim as the CID inquiry has clearly found that she was falsely implicated in the case,” Singh told the media persons.

“She has also ordered a CID probe against all police officials involved in booking the girl for allegedly stealing Rs.5,000 and a mobile phone from MLA Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi’s home, where she was kept for four days last month,” Singh said.

As soon as the news ofr Mayawati’s decision was flashed across TV channels, reporters in Allahabad made frantic calls to their respective offices in Lucknow to inform them about the Allahabad High Court order. The high court division bench had issued the release order well before the chief minister’s announcement.

Speaking at another venue, the chief minister said: “Though personally I have reason to suspect that the girl was falsely implicated, I have still asked the CID officials to ascertain that; and let me assure you that in case such suspicion comes out to be true, the MLA would be dealt with most severely.”

She added, “Stringent action would also follow against the policemen responsible for the frame-up.”

Dwivedi, after raping the girl, who belongs to the Other Backward Classes (OBC), had got her arrested Dec 15 night on charges of stealing his licensed revolver, a mobile phone and Rs.5,000 in cash.

Mayawati Wednesday ordered the arrest of her party legislator after the preliminary report submitted by the crime branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) confirmed that the teen-aged girl was gang-raped.

Dwivedi was arrested Thursday and sent to Banda jail.

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