A rape case by a 21 year old woman from Surat against former BJP lawmaker Jayanti Bhanushali is escalating as a major sex scandal involving two former lawmakers trading charges and allegations against each other.
The whole episode and it’s 24/7 coverage on local media and social media platforms have become a major cause of embarrassment for the ruling party.
The state BJP said Mr. Bhanushali has already resigned from post as Vice President of Gujarat BJP.
On Tuesday, the 21-year-old complainant in Surat appeared before media and alleged that despite her complaint, the local police have not yet arrested Mr. Bhanushali, an influential BJP leader from Kutch. She again narrated a series of incidents in which she was subjected to rape and sexual harassment by the accused, who promised her admission in a private college and a job.
Based on her complaint, Surat police have lodged an FIR naming Mr. Bhanushali, who has been summoned to appear before police.
Meanwhile in Ahmedabad, a man claiming to be former husband of rape victim told media that in the past also, the woman had played victim for money. He claimed that she had sexual relationships with multiple men and used to make CD to extort money from them.
“Within two months of our marriage, we divorced because she had multiple affairs and sexual relations,” he told media persons, stressing that her complaint cannot be taken seriously.
He also named another BJP leader Chhabil Patel, a former Congress legislator who joined BJP in 2014 and unsuccessfully contested assembly polls in 2017 as BJP candidate from Abdasa assembly seat, for threatening him to divorce the woman.
It may be noted that Mr. Bhanushali and Chhabil Patel are local political rivals and have been trying to establish their dominance in Kutch district politics.
Chhabil Patel denied all allegations and said “he was being dragged in the matter at behest of Bhanushali, who has been exposed and facing arrest.”
“Everybody in Kutch knows about Bhanushali, who is a blackmailer and land grabber. He has trapped many people including several leaders in honey trap at his farm house in Kutch,” a senior party leader and former legislator from Kutch told The Hindu.
He added that other victims are also likely to come forward and file complaints as Mr. Bhanushali cheated them as well, by promising money and jobs in return of sexual favours to him and others.
“She is not the only girl. There are dozens of his victims and gradually they all will come forward,” he added.
This is second sex scandal to hit BJP in Gujarat. Last year, a Mumbai based woman had filed a case against 10 persons including local BJP leaders for repeated gang rape and sexual harassment in Naliya police station in Kutch. After the complaint, police had arrested the accused BJP workers including a local municipality member.
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