Congress on Wednesday stepped up its demand for Union minister Nihal Chand Meghwal's removal from Narendra Modi Cabinet saying it was a "shame" that a person summoned by the court in a "heinous" crime like rape continues to be in the government.
While workers of Mahila Congress staged a protest outside BJP office here seeking Meghwal's resignation, party spokesperson PC Chacko said, "It is a shame for the government that a person, who is accused of a heinous crime like rape and has been summoned by the court, still continues in the government.
"Now they (the government) say they will follow the legal course. This is too much.... The minister should not be allowed to continue even for a moment". He added that the government should act on moral grounds in this case and not politically.
His colleague Shoba Oza, who heads Mahila Congress, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks of zero tolerance in matters of crime against women but "when the name of one of his ministers surfaces, neither the minister puts in his papers nor the Prime Minister demands it." She alleged that the victim from Rajasthan is being intimidated and as long as the minister remains in the post, there will be pressure on her.
Nihal Chand and 16 others were named in an FIR lodged by a 24-year-old married woman from Jaipur. In the FIR filed in 2011, she alleged that the accused had sexually exploited her.
Rajasthan Police had, in 2012, closed the case saying the charges were false and fabricated. The woman had then approached a district court which, too, dismissed the charges.
Nihal Chand and the other accused have now been asked by a Jaipur court to appear before it in connection with the case after a review petition was filed by the complainant.
Nihal Chand is the the Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertiliser and the only MP from Rajasthan in Modi's Cabinet.