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.
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?