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Sunday,07-March-2021

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Maharashtra: NCP, BJP trade blows on Dhananjay Munde rape allegations

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Jayant-Patil

In its first reactions, the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday decided to “keep off” the “family matter” of Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde who is in the eye of a storm over allegations of rape against him levelled by a woman.

NCP state chief Jayant Patil made it clear that there was no question of Munde’s resignation or any “changes in the state Cabinet” even as the opposition BJP demanded the minister’s scalp.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar endorsed Patil’s stance while the ruling ally Shiv Sena’s spokesperson Sanjay Raut slammed the BJP for “interfering in and politicising personal affairs” of leaders.

Patil also said that Mumbai Police should conduct an “impartial inquiry” into the allegations against Munde who late on Wednesday evening met NCP President Sharad Pawar and apprised him of the developments.

On Wednesday former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya wrote to the Election Commission (EC) demanding action against Munde for allegedly suppressing information about “his (Munde’s) two wives and all children and properties in their names”, in the 2019 Assembly poll affidavit.

This morning, Somaiya went to the Oshiwara Police Station to demand that the police should accept the alleged rape-victim’s complaint and lodge an FIR against the minister.

The NCP was embarrassed after the woman lodged a written complaint alleging rape over several years by Munde on pretext of marriage and getting her Bollywood singing assignments.

The police have not yet taken cognisance of the matter against Munde, a nephew of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who quit the BJP in 2013 to join the NCP.

In a detailed rejoinder, Munde – among other things – dismissed the allegations against him as false, defamatory, and he claimed to have SMSes as proof that the woman made calls from her mobile demanding exorbitant amount of money as blackmail, in connivance with her elder sister and their brother.

However, he admitted to a relationship with a woman since 2003, with whom he has sired a son and daughter and he supports them with the full knowledge and consent of his wife and family.

“But, from 2019, she and her sister blackmailed me and started demanding money. A complaint has also been filed with the police regarding all these matters that are happening since November 12, 2020,” Munde claimed.

He said that he was threatened by the woman’s brother, and in November 2020, her elder sister published certain personal and private material related to him on social media and blackmailed him.

“That’s why I am trying to get justice for myself in this case. A petition has been filed against her in the high court. The high court has passed orders against her banning the publishing of such material. The petition is pending for further hearing, meanwhile the process of reconciliation by lawyers on both sides is also going on,” Munde said.

On her part, the sister on January 12 took to social media contending that she had earlier approached the police but her complaint was not accepted.

She further claimed that Munde — who is reportedly her brother-in-law and had married her sister in 1998 — first raped her in 2006 when she was alone at home and then repeated the act multiple times over the years.

National News

Amit Shah kicks-off BJP poll campaign in Tamil Nadu

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday kick-off the election campaign of BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan, who is contesting from the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat, by conducting a road show.

Shah started his campaign after offering prayers at the Hanuman Temple in Sucheendram.

The Union Home Minister then launched the Vijay Sankalp Mahasampark Abhiyan at Sucheendram by canvassing votes conducting door-to-door campaign.

He campaigned at 11 homes in the town as part of the initiative.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting the elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat in alliance with the AIADMK and PMK.

The ruling AIADMK has allotted 20 Assembly seats and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat to the BJP.

The PMK is contesting from 23 seats in the Vanniyar strong holds.

While speaking to IANS, Radhakrishnan, also a former Union Minister, said: “The BJP ,AIADMK combined is formidable in Tamil Nadu and even after 10 years, there is no anti-incumbency factor against the state government. The visit of the Union Home Minister will create wonders and we are on track.”

However he had lost Kanyakumari in the 2019 general elections to H. Vasanthakumar off the Congress by a margin of 3 lakh votes.

The by-election is taking place in the wake of Vasanthakumar’s death due to Covid.

While the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha segment has six Assembly seats, the BJP is not contesting in any, while the AIADMK is contesting from the alliance.

The BJP is strong in Killiyooor, Vilavankode and Padmanabhapuram assembly constituencies and party workers were expecting to contest in the party symbol.

However the party is not contesting in any Assembly constituency.

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Mithun Chakraborty joins BJP rally in Kolkata

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National Award winning Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty on Sunday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s mega show at Kolkata’s iconic brigade parade ground.

Chakraborty arrived at the ground at around 12 noon and was welcomed by the BJP’s National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargi and other state leaders.

Sources said while coming to the rally, Chakraborty’s car was stopped midway near Bowbazar as BJP supporters spotted the superstar sitting in his white SUV.

Former Trinamool Congress leader and former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi, who had joined the saffron camp recently, also arrived at the mega show.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to arrive at the ground at 1.45 p.m. aboard a chopper from the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport.

Kolkata has been virtually covered with a tight security blanket by the city police and security agencies coming from the Centre.

The rally will mark the culmination of the BJP’s state-wide Parivartan Yatra that covered Bengal’s 294-assembly constituencies.

Security agencies put up four-layered barricades in front of the podium from where Modi is slated to address crowds.

As many as 1,500 CCTV cameras were installed in and around the brigade parade ground area.

A central monitoring control room was also set up behind the main stage.

The entire ground was barricaded with wooden logs to control the crowd movements.

Restrictions were imposed on vehicular movements, especially on goods vehicles, and traffic was diverted in busy stretches like Hastings, Cathedral Road, Khidirpur, AJC Bose Road and Hospital Road.

The 294-member West Bengal Assembly will go to the polls in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. The counting will take place on May 2.

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Kerala Assembly speaker summoned by Customs

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P-Sreeramakrishnan

Senior CPI-M leader and Kerala Assembly Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan has been summoned by the Customs department to appear before it on March 12 in connection with the gold smuggling case.

The news came as a second blow to Sreeramakrishnan on Friday after he came to know that he won’t be fielded as a candidate in the Assembly elections to be held on April 6.

In December last year, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case had given a statement in court saying ‘big sharks’ had a role in helping the accused persons in the case, including Swapna Suresh. Sreeramakrishnan had to face the wrath of the Opposition when it moved a motion demanding his removal in January this year. Howevern, the proposal was rejected after it was put to vote.

A statement filed by the Customs in the Kerala High Court on Thursday said, “Her (Swapna Suresh’s) close connection with the Chief Minister and his principal secretary and a personal staff was also revealed by her. She has also stated with clarity about smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the Consulate. She has also clearly stated about the improper and illegal activities of three ministers of the state cabinet and the Speaker. She has further stated about the involvement and the kickbacks received by high profile persons from various deals.

“She has stated that she is aware of all these transactions and was a witness to the same as she is well versed in the Arabic language and hence was forced to act as the translator between the above said persons and the persons of Middle East origin in all their crucial interactions.

“The role of the former principal secretary (M. Sivasankar) in acting as the link between the high profile politicians of Kerala and the UAE Consulate officials as well as some others and in coordinating the illegal financial dealings under the cover of various activities and projects of the state government was also revealed by her.”

The Left has called for a statewide protest on Saturday against the statement of the Customs.

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