Gangrape case: Book UP minister, orders SC

The apex court bench asked the UP police to complete the probe in 2 months and asked the report to be filed in a sealed envelope.

Gangrape case: Book UP minister, orders SC

Amid the ongoing assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Friday directed registration of a first information report (FIR) against Gayatri Prajapati, a senior minister in the UP government, in a gangrape case.

This comes as a major jolt to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's attempts to distance the Samajwadi Party from its rough image.

In its order, the apex court said that an FIR should be filed against Prajapati and his associates in the case to probe allegations levelled by a 36-year-old woman against the minister. The justices A K Sikri and R K Agrawal of the bench described the allegations as "very serious".

In the ongoing elections, Prajapati is competing in Amethi against Congress's Ameeta Singh and BJP's Garima Singh. Prajapati was at the centre of the power struggle in the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan when Akhilesh sacked him and another minister Raj Kishore Singh over alleged corruption charges in September last year.

After embarrassing rounds of suspensions and expulsions, Prajapati along with other controversial figures got the party ticket. The status of Prajapati as a local strongman is underlined by the fact that he is contesting in the Gandhi borough despite an SP-Congress election pact.
The apex court bench asked the UP police to complete the probe in 2 months and asked the report to be filed in a sealed envelope.

 The complainant, who is also a corporator in UP, said she was introduced to the minister three years ago through one Ashok Tiwari. She alleged that she was gang-raped by the minister and his associates in October 2014. She claimed Prajapati had taken her nude photographs that night and blackmailed her for three years during which she was sexually assaulted many times.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for the victim, told the bench that she had approached the DGP of Uttar Pradesh after the minister had tried to assault her 17-year-old daughter. However, no action was taken and not even an FIR was lodged. She was forced to leave the state and move to Delhi due to a threat to her life.

The police refuted the allegations and state's counsel Ravi P Mehrotra said that crime branch of CID had conducted an inquiry and filed a report saying no definite conclusion could be reached in regard to the genuineness and truth of the allegations. Mehrotra contended that she failed to satisfactorily explain delay on her part in raising the issue or not approaching the local police station and police thereafter decided not to register an FIR.

The apex court, however, was not satisfied with his contention and said police was bound to register case in heinous offences as held by various Supreme Court verdicts.