| Harak Singh Rawat (centre) on a fast in Dehra Dun on Monday. (PTI)
July 19: A sex scandal in Uttaranchal has been labelled a hoax thought up by squabbling politicians after an unwed mother withdrew rape charges against a minister who lost his job because of the allegation.
Indira Deori alias Jenny from Assam had alleged last year that the then revenue minister, Harak Singh Rawat, had fathered her child only to deny it yesterday.
Rawat today began a “fast unto death” near the Vidhan Sabha, demanding an apology from Uttaranchal chief minister .D. Tiwari, Speaker Yashpal Arya and leader of Opposition Matbar Singh Kandari for the “mental agony” caused by the “unwed mother scandal”.
The Congress leader said he would neither enter the House nor “eat or drink till these people apologise publicly”, adding that he “did not get any justice from Tiwari”. The House committee that probed the scandal did not record his version, he said. “It was a one-sided report that led to my resignation.”
The former Uttaranchal minister said he was not “hungry” for re-induction into the cabinet but it was a fight to get back “lost prestige and honour”.
Yesterday, Jenny had dismissed as lies the charges of rape she had levelled against Rawat. “I was under pressure. I regret the incident. I was not allowed to speak to the media that time. Harak Singh is a good man. He did not rape me,” she said.
However, Jenny refused to name those who had pressured her to sully the minister’s name. “Anjan is my son,” she said, asked who the one-year-old boy’s father is.
Rawat, nevertheless, threatened to move the Supreme Court to “expose” all those who had conspired against him. “I know who are involved in using Jenny to carry on a character assassination campaign against me. Wait for a bigger surprise. I will expose the rest,” he said.
The former minister’s associates point out that he does not suspect Opposition leaders as much as detractors from his own party.
When the scandal broke a year ago, factionalism in the Uttaranchal Congress was at its worst. Rawat, who was fast emerging a contender for top posts in the party, had invited the wrath of state Congress chief Harish Rawat and the chief minister’s lobby led by then information minister Indira Hardesh.
One of these two camps had the support of a powerful IAS officer, who is believed to have influenced Jenny to name Rawat as the father of her child.
“It is obviously the result of a bitter factional fight in which Jenny came to be used as a tool,” said a senior Congress leader of the state.
In June 2003, Jenny named Rawat the father of a child she had just delivered and alleged that he had repeatedly raped her in a Bareilly guesthouse.
The political storm that followed her allegation lost steam in May when the CBI tabled its report to the court stating that the DNA of the child did not match that of the minister. But Jenny kept reiterating her allegations, sources said.
“By making Jenny repeat her charges, Rawat’s rivals wanted to ensure that he does not re-enter the Tiwari ministry,” said an associate of the former minister.
Rawat’s opponents, on the other hand, claimed he has bribed Jenny to change her statement.