Naliya rape case: All you need to know about the Kutch sex racket and how it began

The Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a setback ahead of the Assembly election scheduled later this year after its local leaders were accused and arrested in connection with a rape case in Naliya taluka of Kutch district on 7 February.

According to The Indian Express, the Kutch police superintendent had constituted a special investigation team (SIT) after a woman, residing in Mumbai, filed a complaint at Naliya police station on 25 January, alleging she was repeatedly gang-raped and threatened by 10 men, including a local BJP worker, during the last one year. On Tuesday, the SIT arrested Vinod Thakkar, 67, his son Chetan Thakkar, 35, and Ashwin Thakkar, 44, before producing them in a Naliya court, which remanded them to police custody for a fortnight. Here is how the case unfolded over the last few days.

How it all started:

In August 2015, a woman, who lived with her in-laws in Mumbai's Nalasopara suburb, returned to her hometown in Kothara village of Naliya in Gujarat after she had an argument with her husband. According to News18, she was looking for a job and she asked help from one Bababhai, a mobile shop owner in Naliya town. Bababhai not just promised to help the woman but also said he would get her a job in a couple of days. Bababhai soon introduced her to Shantilal Solanki, the vendor of a LPG gas agency and the convenor of the OBC cell of BJP unit for Abdasa taluka of Kutch district, who offered her a job at Rs 5,500 per month.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

In her FIR this January, the woman said that she had asked Solanki for advance salary in 2015 since Diwali was approaching.  Solanki had asked her to collect it from his house where she was offered cold drinks before being raped by three persons, allegedly including Solanki. That was the first of several occasions where the woman was allegedly raped in moving cars, hotels and houses of other accused. The trio also filmed the act and blackmailed the victim threatening to circulate the clip.

The FIR:

After the traumatic experience, the woman attempted suicide thrice in Mumbai, but survived. Later she confided in her husband and mustered up the courage to file an FIR against the accused. She named Solanki’s friends — Bharat Darji and Vipul Thakkar — who were present in the house and Ketan Thakkar, Govind of Gandhidham, Atul Thakkar, Ashwim Thakkar of Nakhatrana and Baba Chauhan of Naliya, Vasant of Adipur and an unidentified differently-abled man as accused who allegedly raped her on different occasions.

Police versus party:

Kutch West superintendent of police Makarand Chauhan had told The Indian Express that according to the woman's claims, she is one of the many victims of a sex racket that is run by influential people and politicians in Kutch. The Kutch police suspects that more than 60 people are involved and minor girls could also be a part of the sexual exploitation. For a thorough investigation, police decided to form a special investigative team (SIT) led by Kutch West Police's police inspector JM Aal. Police sub-inspector Pravina Tabiyar, who is women police station in-charge, and PSI Rekha Sisodia were appointed as members of the committee.

According to The Times of India,after recording the complainant's statements before a magistrate and gathering sufficient evidence, the police arrested Ashwin from Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway and Vinod and Chetan from Mulund in Mumbai. The Hindu reported that in an attempt to control the damage, BJP has suspended Solanki and three other of its party members — Govind Parumalani, Ajit Ramvani and Vasant Bhanushali after they were named in the complaint. Ramvani and Bhanushali are the sitting councillors of the Gandhidham municipality and yet to be arrested, police said.

The arrest happened a day after the Gujarat BJP suspended the four party members. "Efforts are on to nab at least six others who are involved in the crime," Aal had said at a presser. We have also issued a look-out notice to airports in order to stop them from fleeing the country," Aal added.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Feb 10, 2017 11:32 am | Updated Date: Feb 10, 2017 11:33 am


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