Woman who accused BSP MP Atul Rai of rape passes away; family alleges harassment

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Updated: August 25, 2021 11:31 AM

In March, the woman had filed a plea in the Supreme Court, seeking transfer of her rape case from Allahabad to Delhi for a fair trial.

The woman had alleged that Rai called her to his apartment in Varanasi on March 7, 2018, and sexually assaulted her. (Representational Image)

The 24-year-old woman who has allegedly set herself on fire along with a friend outside the Supreme Court last week, succumbed to her injuries at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Tuesday. 

The woman had sustained 85 per cent burns in the self-immolation bid on August 16. The man, 27, had suffered 65 per cent burns and succumbed to his injuries on Saturday. Both were admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

The woman, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district, had come to Delhi with her friend on August 16. Before setting themselves on fire the same day, they recorded a Facebook Live video, wherein the woman said she had lodged a rape case against BSP MP Atul Rai, and alleged that senior IPS officers and a judge from Uttar Pradesh were “part of a nexus”.

Earlier, a senior police officer had said that the man and the woman took the extreme step as a court had issued a non-bailable warrant against them in a case of forgery for allegedly submitting wrong proof of age in the rape case. In her Facebook video, the woman had mentioned the warrant and that she had been summoned by the judge.

In March, the woman had filed a plea in the Supreme Court, seeking transfer of her rape case from Allahabad to Delhi for a fair trial and claimed that she faced a threat to her life. Later in August, a local court in Varanasi issued a non-bailable warrant against her in the forgery case based on a complaint filed by Rai’s brother. 

As per the complaint filed by the woman, Rai allegedly raped her in March 2018. The woman said she came to know Rai while contesting student union elections, and had sought financial help from him. 

According to the complaint, the BSP MP called her to his apartment in Varanasi on March 7, 2018 where he sexually assaulted her. She also alleged that Rai filmed the act and threatened to circulate the video clip on social media. 

On June 22, 2019, Rai surrendered before a court and was sent to judicial custody. He remains in jail. He contested, and won, the Ghosi Lok Sabha elections from inside jail. The rape case is pending before a local court in Prayagraj.

In November 2020, Rai’s brother Pawan Kumar lodged a complaint against the woman, accusing her of forging documents. In his complaint, Kumar alleged that she produced a fake high school certificate as an age proof when filing the FIR.

On August 2, a local court in Varanasi issued a non-bailable warrant against her after the police told the court she “remained untraceable despite several raids”.

Meanwhile, the woman’s family has alleged that the BSP MP and his associates have been harassing them to withdraw the case since 2019.

“She never told us anything about her case. We wanted to help her, but she said she would handle it… The MP and his associates had been harassing her since 2019. They wanted us to withdraw the case, but we didn’t. They also had some videos and threatened us, but my daughter said she would fight,” her father told The Indian Express.

“My daughter never absconded… I don’t know why they issued a non-bailable warrant against her. She was upset and disappointed. I want the government to take strict action against the policemen. My daughter was harassed and tortured. We wish we knew more,” he said.

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