Mumbai, Jan 14 (IANS): In its first reactions, the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday decided to "keep off" the "family matter" of Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde who is in the eye of a storm over allegations of rape against him levelled by a woman.
NCP state chief Jayant Patil made it clear that there was no question of Munde's resignation or any "changes in the state Cabinet" even as the opposition BJP demanded the minister's scalp.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar endorsed Patil's stance while the ruling ally Shiv Sena's spokesperson Sanjay Raut slammed the BJP for "interfering in and politicising personal affairs" of leaders.
Patil also said that Mumbai Police should conduct an "impartial inquiry" into the allegations against Munde who late on Wednesday evening met NCP President Sharad Pawar and apprised him of the developments.
On Wednesday former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya wrote to the Election Commission (EC) demanding action against Munde for allegedly suppressing information about "his (Munde's) two wives and all children and properties in their names", in the 2019 Assembly poll affidavit.
This morning, Somaiya went to the Oshiwara Police Station to demand that the police should accept the alleged rape-victim's complaint and lodge an FIR against the minister.
The NCP was embarrassed after the woman lodged a written complaint alleging rape over several years by Munde on pretext of marriage and getting her Bollywood singing assignments.
The police have not yet taken cognisance of the matter against Munde, a nephew of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who quit the BJP in 2013 to join the NCP.
In a detailed rejoinder, Munde - among other things - dismissed the allegations against him as false, defamatory, and he claimed to have SMSes as proof that the woman made calls from her mobile demanding exorbitant amount of money as blackmail, in connivance with her elder sister and their brother.
However, he admitted to a relationship with a woman since 2003, with whom he has sired a son and daughter and he supports them with the full knowledge and consent of his wife and family.
"But, from 2019, she and her sister blackmailed me and started demanding money. A complaint has also been filed with the police regarding all these matters that are happening since November 12, 2020," Munde claimed.
He said that he was threatened by the woman's brother, and in November 2020, her elder sister published certain personal and private material related to him on social media and blackmailed him.
"That's why I am trying to get justice for myself in this case. A petition has been filed against her in the high court. The high court has passed orders against her banning the publishing of such material. The petition is pending for further hearing, meanwhile the process of reconciliation by lawyers on both sides is also going on," Munde said.
On her part, the sister on January 12 took to social media contending that she had earlier approached the police but her complaint was not accepted.
She further claimed that Munde -- who is reportedly her brother-in-law and had married her sister in 1998 -- first raped her in 2006 when she was alone at home and then repeated the act multiple times over the years.