Dhananjay Munde to continue as minister, despite rape charges, till police probe ends

Pawar added that the party has suggested that an ACP-rank woman police officer must be part of the team that will probe the allegations against Munde

Press Trust of India January 15, 2021 20:20:31 IST
Dhananjay Munde to continue as minister, despite rape charges, till police probe ends

File image of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. PTI

Mumbai: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday said the party will think of any action against Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde, facing a rape accusation, only after the truth comes out post police probe in the matter.

Munde, the state social justice minister and NCP leader, has been accused of rape by a Mumbai-based woman, a charge he has strongly refuted and termed it as a blackmail attempt.

Pawar told reporters that the NCP wants an ACP rank woman officer to be part of the police team that will probe the allegations against Munde.

The former Union ministers comments came in the wake of NCP leaders holding a late Thursday night meeting to discuss the issue. At the meeting it was decided to let Munde continue in his post for now and take a call on his fate after the police investigation is completed.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Pawar had termed the allegations levelled by the woman as serious.

On Thursday, BJP leader Krishna Hegde and Manish Dhuri of the MNS alleged that the same woman had allegedly harassed them, too.

Pawar on Friday said the claims made by Hegde and Dhuri were not in public domain when he had termed the allegations of the woman against Munde as being serious.

"When we learnt these things (claims of Hegde and Dhuri), we came to a conclusion that the matter has to be probed in detail. We were and are sure that the police department will do that," Pawar said, adding the party will not interfere in the police investigation.

"The only thing we suggested was that there should at least one woman ACP rank official probing the matter. They should bring to the fore facts after taking information about the complaints. And they should complete the probe as soon as possible," he added.

Pawar said possibility that injustice will be meted to one if the matter is not probed in detail cannot be ruled out and hence, the party is waiting for the investigation outcome.

The NCP president said he has full confidence that the Mumbai Police will bring the truth out.

Asked about some BJP leaders targeting the NCP over the episode involving Munde, Pawar said it is the right of the Opposition to criticise.

But, he added, it is the responsibility of the NCP to go deep into the matter to know the facts and take the right decision accordingly.

On the BJP making repeated allegations against NCP leaders like Munde and Nawab Malik (another NCP minister), Pawar attributed the same to the restlessness of the NDA lead constituent after losing power in Maharashtra.

"It is alright. I can understand the restlessness of those who have lost power. I dont see it as different from targeting those because of whom they feel they lost the power," he added.

Malik's son-in-law has been arrested by the NCB in a drugs case.

Asked about another allegation against Munde that he hid information about having two more children from a relationship with the sister of the complainant, Pawar said it needs to be checked and added such cases of hiding information have happened in the country previously.

"It needs to be checked whether he got married for the second time or has more children, but did not share the information. Such cases have happened in the country. Even (there are) cases involving the highest people. But I dont want to go into their details," Pawar said without
naming anyone.

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