NCP seeks action against Tawde in BJYM woman member's plaint

Mumbai: Opposition NCP today demanded that Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde be booked in the episode related to alleged sexual harassment of a woman by former Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) city unit president Ganesh Pandey as the victim named him also in her complaint.

Addressing a press conference here, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik flashed what he claimed was a copy of the victim's complaint sent to the city BJP and said it mentions Tawde besides Pandey, who has rubbished the charge.

"The complainant (a local BJYM member), in her letter to Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar, has mentioned Vinod Tawde's name and hence he, too, should be booked," Malik said. He said Pandey is a close associate of Tawde, a senior BJP leader in Maharashtra.

"I demand that Mumbai Police file a Zero FIR and book the minister. The FIR can be then transferred to Mathura where this criminal act took place," Malik said. Zero FIR is an FIR that can be filed in any police station regardless of the place of incident or jurisdiction.

The NCP leader claimed the victim has not yet approached Police to file a formal criminal complaint as she may have been threatened. Last week, the woman, in a written complaint to Shelar, alleged Pandey sexually harassed her during the BJP youth wing's three-day executive committee meeting in Mathura. Pandey had accompanied the victim for the meeting in the UP city.

Pandey, who resigned after the complaint, rejected the charge, saying they were part of a "political conspiracy". "This is a classic case of political conspiracy hatched against me. There are a few people in the party, who are behind this. I have full faith in my senior leadership and this is why while submitting my resignation, I demanded a fair inquiry into the matter," he said. Tawde was not available for comment.

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