45-Year-Old Dhananjay Munde who is Maharashtra’s Social Justice Minister, has been accused by a woman of rape. While the woman has openly tweeted her allegations on twitter, we refrain from naming her here as per Supreme Court guidelines of keeping the identity of ‘victim’ undisclosed.
To begin with, Dhananjay is a first-term MLA, however, he is looked upon as one of the important leaders of the NCP after joining them in 2012. Munde had broken ranks with the BJP and his uncle, Late Gopinath Munde, as he chose his daughter, Pankaja Munde, to be his heir.
Allegations by Complainant Woman:
On January 11, a female singer from Madhya Pradesh had sent a written complaint to the Mumbai Police Commissioner, stating that Munde had repeatedly raped her in 2006. The woman, in her complaint, claimed that Munde is her brother-in-law and had married her sister in 1998. She also claimed that the minister had first raped her in 2006 when she was alone at her home and since then he repeated the act multiple times over the years. She added that Munde had assured her that he would marry her as well and help her get work as a singer in Bollywood.
The alleged victim in her tweet mentioned that the Oshiwara police station in Mumbai refused to accept her complaint and tagged former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Supriya Sule for help in the matter. The Mumbai Police tweeted back to her, asking her to share details of the case with them.
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In her complaint, the singer has accused Munde, her alleged brother-in-law, of sexual assault and rape. In an interview with Zee 24 Taas, she said that she knew Munde since 1996 “when he was nothing.” She also said,
He started raping me in 2006… He used to ask whether I would take care of his kids and marry him.
Munde, who is married and has a young daughter, issued a statement on Tuesday where he acknowledged that he was in a relationship with the complainant’s sister and has two children with her. He added that he had financially supported them and given the children his name. He further said that his family was aware of the relationship and had accepted it.
The minister, however, had denied the charges of rape and claimed that the accusation were part of a conspiracy to blackmail him. Munde said the complainant’s messages can prove his claim.
The minister claims that since 2019, the two sisters began blackmailing him and demanding money. Taking to Facebook, Munde wrote that in November 2020, the woman he was involved with, allegedly published private materials against him, following which he filed a petition against her in the High Court. The high court, he says, directed her to stop the publishing of said defamatory content.
Facebook Post By Munde
After Munde acknowledged his relationship with the woman, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya lodged a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner against the minister for concealing details about his family and properties in his election affidavit. Somaiya said,
I have submitted a complaint against Maharashtra Minister Dhananjay Munde to the Election Commission of India for non-disclosure and concealment of facts about his wives, children and properties.
Further in his complaint to the EC Somaiya wrote,
In his affidavit for the October 2017 Maharashtra Assembly elections, he did not disclose facts regarding his two wives, all children and properties in their names. I request to order an inquiry and take appropriate actions.
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The BJP unit in the state is also seeking his resignation from the cabinet. State BJP President Chandrakant Patil,
Dhananjay Munde, who is heading the social justice ministry, should resign as he has no moral right to be in the post after accusation of sexual exploitation being levelled against him.
The party’s women’s wing has also threatened to launch a statewide agitation if Munde did not resign.
The NCP, meanwhile, said that it will wait for the outcome of the police investigation into the complaint before taking a decision on the minister’s fate.
Munde, meanwhile, spent his day meeting the top NCP brass, including party chief Sharad Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and senior cabinet minister Chaggan Bhujbal. He also attended the state cabinet meeting.
The new proposed Shakti Act by Maha Vikas Aghadi Government in Maharashtra led by Shiv Sena, NCP & Congress has laid the following rules:
The act provides for completing probe in sexual violence cases within 15 days and trial within 30 days. Therefore, there is a stipulated time frame for completing the investigation and trial.
Stringent punishment, including the death penalty and heavy fines on the perpetrators is a key feature of the draft bill. The perpetrators will be punished with imprisonment for life for not less than ten years but may extend to the remainder of natural life or with death in cases characterised as ‘heinous’.