While the BJP has been demanding Munde's resignation, the allegations of a honey trap attempt made against the complainant by a BJP leader may have given Munde some breathing space for now.
Two politicians, one from the BJP and another from the MNS, on Thursday complained of harassment by the woman who has accused NCP leader and Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde of rape.
The disclosure by BJP leader Krishna Hegde and MNS’ Manish Dhuri came an hour after NCP president Sharad Pawar said that the allegations against Munde were serious and the party would take a decision on the issue after internal consultations.
While the BJP has been demanding Munde’s resignation, the allegations of a honey trap attempt made against the complainant by a BJP leader may have given Munde some breathing space for now.
“The allegations are serious and naturally, we as a party, have to take a decision. I have not had a word with the party leaders on this issue and will soon have a discussion. Munde had met me and told me his side of the story. It is my responsibility to make my party leaders aware about what he told me and then formulate our next course of action,” Pawar told mediapersons in Mumbai.
A woman who claims to be Munde’s sister-in-law has accused the minister of rape. Munde, however, has denied the allegation and claimed that he is being blackmailed by the complainant and her sister with whom he was in a relationship and has two children.
With the growing clamour for his resignation, Munde and Pawar had a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday.
“He told me about the allegations… He said that he shared a close relationship with a person
and the allegations have been levelled against him by the same person. A complaint was lodged against him and an inquiry into it has hopefully commenced. It seems he had an idea that such allegations would be made and had previously approached the HC in regards to this matter,” Pawar said.
Maintaining that no injustice would be done to anyone, he added: “As the party head, we will have to take a decision and also ensure that no injustice is done to anyone.”
Maharashtra NCP president and state Minister Jayant Patil said Munde would not resign just because someone has made allegations against him. Patil added that any conclusion should be reached based only on the outcome of the police probe. He also said so far, there has been neither any discussion in the party over Munde’s resignation nor has the latter offered to resign.
Soon after Pawar spoke, former Congress MLA Krishna Hegde, who had joined the BJP in 2017, approached the Amboli police and filed lodged a complaint of harassment against the woman. He claimed that the same woman has attempted to honey trap him in 2010.
“The woman had been calling and messaging me since 2010. She kept asking me to be in a relationship with her. I had always turned down her request to meet,” Hegde said in his complaint to the police. “This harassment went on to the point of stalking.”
“I am informed that a few more persons have been honey-trapped and money has been extorted,” he added.
Hegde said that the harassment, messages and phone calls went on till 2015, and that he avoided taking the calls. The woman suddenly messaged him again on January 6 and 7 on WhatsApp, he said in the police complaint.
“Even on January 6 and 7, she sent me WhatsApp texts. I did not respond except sending her a thumbs up emoji,” Hedge added.
After he learnt that the woman has lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against Munde, Hegde approached the police.
MNS leader Mahesh Dhuri is the second politician to file a complaint against the woman at Amboli police station, accusing her of extortion and blackmail. He claimed that the woman had harassed him in 2009.
Dhuri said that he was familiar with the woman and frequently chatted with her. “She wanted to use my contacts in the film industry. She had even taken me to her house in Andheri (East) on the pretext that her sister wanted to meet me. However, when I went to the apartment, I sensed something amiss, as there was nobody in the house… I feared that someone was recording me,” he told The Indian Express. Dhuri added that he had then stopped communicating with her.
Senior Inspector Someshwar Kamthe of Amboli police station said he had received a complaint application from Hegde. “We have not registered any case but will act on the complaint and start investigating,” he added.
The 32-year-old woman’s lawyer, Ramesh Tripathi, said that the allegations of harassment made against his client by Hegde and Dhuri are false and baseless.
Meanwhile, the police have initiated the procedure of recording the woman’s statement in her complaint against Munde. The police said that recording of her statement is expected to be completed on Friday.
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