LUCKNOW: A teenaged backward caste girl, who was allegedly raped by BSP MLA Purshottam Naresh Dwiwedi and was arrested in connection with a theft case, was released from the prison on Saturday evening after more than a month.
The 17-year-old girl walked free from the Banda district jail after an order for her release, issued by the district judge, was handed over to prison authorities, officials said.
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati ordered the release of girl and said action will be taken against policemen involved in harassing the minor who was charged with theft apparently as part of a "conspiracy". ( Read: Banda rape case: Girl was sold for Rs 50,000 )
"The CM has ordered the release of the girl currently lodged in Banda jail on the basis of a report submitted by the CB-CID," an official spokesman said. He said that there was a provision under which the chief minister can order release of an undertrial if it has been settled that the case was "fake". ( Read: Preliminary inquiry finds BSP MLA raped Banda teenager )
Detailed probe will continue, the spokesman said. Earlier, addressing a gathering at a function here on her 55th birthday, Mayawati said the charges of theft on the girl, who was allegedly raped by Banda legislator Purushottam Dwivedi, "appeared to be part of a conspiracy of the MLA to hide his misdeed". ( Read: Rape case: Victim was handed over to cops? )
"A Crime Branch-CID probe in the matter is on and after its report, the state government will take stern action against the policemen and others involved in harassing the girl," the BSP leader said. (Read: CB-CID proposes, Banda cops dispose )
With a view to provide justice to the girl, Mayawati said that the state government would ensure hearing of case in a fast-track court.
"No one will be allowed to take law into his hand under BSP government. Strict action will be initiated against all those, whosoever they are, who take law into their hands," Mayawati said giving a message to partymen to remain disciplined.
The release order was issued two days ahead of the hearing on bail application of the girl in a Banda court.
She was arrested following a complaint filed by Dwivedi's brother at Attara police station in December soon after she was allegedly raped by the ruling party legislator.
On January 12, cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had claimed that the theft charge against the girl was genuine.
"The girl, before fleeing from the MLA's house on December 12, took a mobile phone of his daughter-in-law and Rs 5,000 in cash. She even made 150 calls from the mobile phone," he had told reporters. "The theft case was correct and arrest justified," he had said.
The continued incarceration of the girl had caused outrage among social activists while political parties also slammed it. Congress had yesterday said it was "absolutely outrageous that the victim is actually behind bars in a false case" while BJP expressed shock at the way the Uttar Pradesh administration had handled the case.
48-year-old Dwivedi, who represents Naraini seat in UP Assembly, was arrested Thursday in connection with the alleged criminal assault on the 17-year-old girl belonging to a backward community. The MLA was later sent to 14 days of judicial remand by a Chief Judicial Magistrate. ( Read: BSP MLA held on charge of raping minor )
The girl was allegedly raped on December 10-11 last year at the legislator's residence. She escaped from the house on December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her for a third time and was arrested on the same day on theft charges.