A 50-year-old woman lodged a complaint of rape against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Madhu Chavan on Tuesday at Kalachowkie police station. The woman, who was a member of the Mumbai Police Mahila Dakshata Samithi, has worked for women’s rights with several agencies and lobbied for fast track courts for rape cases.
The woman has alleged that Chavan had promised he would divorce his wife and marry her in a public ceremony. Eventually however, he persuaded her to tie the knot in a temple, after which he did not stay with her. The woman said in her statement that Chavan has also promised her a flat, but denied it later.
The 65-year-old former BJP MLA has enjoyed a stint as president of the party’s Mumbai unit. Chavan has been booked under several sections of the IPC – 376 (rape), 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 493 (cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage).
According to the Kalachowkie police, the victim was also a BJP worker, but recently left the BJP and joined another political party. A senior lecturer by profession, the Dadar resident was known to Chavan since 1995, and the two were eventually in a relationship.
“Chavan promised her that he would get married to her after divorcing his wife. The complainant said in her statement that they exchanged rings and garlands at a temple,” said Sunil Jain, senior inspector of Kalachowkie police station. “We will take legal opinion, and if required, arrest Chavan,” he added. Chavan could not be reached for comment.
Who is Chavan?
Chavan hails from the Ratnagiri district and has been actively involved in political and cultural activities since the days of the Jana Sangh. He went on to become the vice-president of the state BJP unit in 1995 when the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance wrested power from the Congress in the state. He was appointed the chief spokesman of the state BJP in 2003 and has been a member of the legislative council since January 2004. Chavan has also produced several Marathi films like Hamaal De Dhammal and Same to Same.
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