WHY IS THIS MAN STILL FREE?

Po­lice let for­mer min­is­ter and three- time MLA Bab­u­lal Na­gar roam free de­spite be­ing ac­cused of rape. In­stead, they have put the com­plainant in the dock.

India Today - - NATION - By Ro­hit Par­i­har

On Septem­ber 13, a 35- yearold insurance agent lodged a for­mal com­plaint that Min­is­ter of State for Dairy, Khadi and Gramodyog, Bab­u­lal Na­gar, had sex­u­ally as­saulted and at­tempted to rape her at his of­fi­cial res­i­dence, 18/ A, Civil Lines in Jaipur, two days ear­lier. Such a com­plaint, by statute, war­rants the ac­cused’s ar­rest as soon as the po­lice get prima fa­cie ev­i­dence. But even though the vic­tim ver­i­fied the scene of crime and the course of events on Septem­ber 18 be­fore the po­lice, Na­gar con­tin­ues to roam free. He lost his min­is­te­rial berth on Septem­ber 19, re­port­edly only be­cause Gu­ru­das Kamat, Congress gen­eral sec­re­tary in charge of Ra­jasthan, didn’t want the Septem­ber 21 and 22 vis­its of Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh and party chief So­nia Gandhi to be over­shad­owed by the scan­dal. It took the party 10 more days to sus­pend his mem­ber­ship.

The loss of min­is­te­rial berth, how­ever, hasn’t dented the power and priv­i­leges of the three- time MLA from Duddu. Not only was the com­plainant taken to his house for ques­tion­ing in his pres­ence but he was also wel­comed by the pro­to­col of­fi­cer of SMS Hos­pi­tal, Jaipur, dur­ing his med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion on Septem­ber 28, 11 days af­ter the FIR was reg­is­tered by po­lice on court or­ders. He has also been al­lowed free­dom to go on a three­day pil­grim­age and a trip to Pushkar on Oc­to­ber 8. It is more­over al­leged that the case’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, Ad­di­tional Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice V. K. Gaur, is Na­gar’s pick.

The po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion has cu­ri­ously fo­cused more on the com­plainant’s an­tecedents and the ve­rac­ity of her claims. Ra­jasthan Chief Min­is­ter Ashok Gehlot, whose de­fence in the case is “the law will take its own course”, trans­ferred the case to CBI on Septem­ber 21. The agency fi­nally took it up on Oc­to­ber 8.

In her com­plaint lodged be­fore the chief ju­di­cial mag­is­trate of Jaipur, the al­leged vic­tim, orig­i­nally from Kan­nauj in Uttar Pradesh but liv­ing in Jaipur for over a decade, states that she first met Na­gar in 2010 to seek a dairy booth for her hus­band and again three months ago to help get a rel­a­tive’s child ad­mit­ted to a Jaipur school. But Na­gar claims she met him to seek a ticket for pan­chayat polls the first time. She men­tions in the com­plaint that Na­gar called her home on Septem­ber 11 on the pre­text of in­form­ing her about the ad­mis­sion of the rel­a­tive’s child. He then at­tempted to rape her in his bed­room. Na­gar de­nies this. He in­sists that there were a hun­dred peo­ple at home at that time, in­clud­ing his son, daugh­ter- in- law and daugh­ter. The MLA also claims he was in an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with her. “We’ve been meet­ing at a place other than my house,” he says. Na­gar’s sec­ond wife, Su­nita, who a decade ago had pub­licly ac­cused him of adul­tery and tor­ture, now stands by him. She ac­cuses the com­plainant of black­mail­ing her hus­band.

Na­gar, 53, was not ques­tioned by the po­lice even once but the com­plainant, her teenage son and two brothers have been in­ter­ro­gated at least 24 times at Po­lice Head­quar­ters and their home in Jaipur, even though re­peated ques­tion­ing is not re­quired once a state­ment is recorded un­der Sec­tion 164. The Crime Branch had been ex­plor­ing con­tra­dic­tions in her ac­count and delv­ing into her past. In March 2006, the com­plainant was ar­rested with her brother, San­jay, and her paramour, Shyam Lal, for al­legedly mur­der­ing her friend Sonu Tan­war Goyal af­ter she op­posed San­jay’s pro­posal for her ( Goyal’s) sis­ter. In Jan­uary 2012, the same com­plainant ac­cused a man, Ar­jun Ya­dav, of drug­ging and re­peat­edly rap­ing her. She com­plained that Ya­dav raped her when she re­fused to black­mail a min­is­ter at his be­hest. In Septem­ber 2012, she went back on her charge— made in the FIR and also be­fore a mag­is­trate— but a month later pressed at­tempt- to- rape charges against Ya­dav. Na­gar, and the po­lice, have latched on to this in­ci­dent and her flipflops. He says the com­plainant was set up by what he calls “Co­bra Gang”— lo­cal mafia pa­tro­n­ised by his po­lit­i­cal ri­vals. “The ref­er­ence to a min­is­ter needs to be in­ves­ti­gated to prove that I was trapped as a part of a cer­tain con­spir­acy,” he says.

What ex­plains the in­dul­gence of the state gov­ern­ment and the po­lice?

PU­RU­SOT­TAM DIWAKAR/ www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com

BABULALNAGAR

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