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‘Sleaze’ axe on minister

Raghavji

Bhopal, July 5: The Madhya Pradesh finance minister who traces his roots to the Jan Sangh has been forced to resign after a male domestic help levelled sexual abuse charges against him.

A compact disc containing graphic scenes purportedly featuring Ragahvji, who turns 79 tomorrow, and the help became public three days before the Assembly convenes for the monsoon session.

Although Raghavji denied the charges, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, whose clean image is the biggest asset of the BJP that also champions moral values, compelled the finance minister to step down, sources said.

The state is headed to Assembly polls later this year. Since 1998, Raghavji has been winning the Vidisha Assembly segment, which is part of the Vidisha parliamentary constituency represented by Sushma Swaraj.

The proximity of Raghavji, who has tabled 10 state budgets since 2003, to Chauhan dates back to the time the chief minister won the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat four times in a row from 1991 to 1999.

Soon after the CD became public, Rajkumar Dangi, a 30-year-old who had allegedly worked for Raghavji for the past three to four years, claimed he was the victim on the disc and approached police to file a case against the minister.

Dangi, who claimed that the minister got him a job in a distillery also, said in the complaint that Raghavji forced him to perform unnatural acts.

The police accepted the complaint but said facts had to be ascertained before an FIR could be registered. Soon after, another person, Ghanshyam, made a similar allegation against Raghavji.

Raghavji has denied the charges. “I am not aware of the allegations. The allegations against me are wrong,” he said. “The chief minister will spell out the reasons for my resignation. There could be a political conspiracy behind the allegations.”

He said Dangi, who had been working for him since 2010, had quit his job a month ago. “If he has levelled any allegations of sodomy against me, they are all baseless.”

Bhopal’s additional SP Jayant Singh Rathore confirmed receiving a complaint against Raghavji. “We are investigating it. We will take the next step after verifying facts.”

The Madhya Pradesh polls are due this November. Congress leader Ajay Singh said: “This sort of moral corruption is worse than financial corruption. A case should be registered immediately.”

The sources said Chauhan sent for Raghavji today and asked him to quit. When the Jan Sangh veteran of the 1950s and 60s sought to argue, Chauhan reportedly lost his cool and told him any delay would result in his immediate sacking from the cabinet and the BJP.