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Naliya rape case: The Kutch sex racket

The Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a setback ahead of the Assembly election scheduled later this year after its local leaders were accused and arrested in connection with a rape case in Naliya taluka of Kutch district on 7 February.

In August 2015, a woman, who lived with her in-laws in Mumbai’s Nalasopara suburb, returned to her hometown in Kothara village of Naliya in Gujarat after she had an argument with her husband. She was looking for a job and she asked help from one Bababhai, a mobile shop owner in Naliya town. Bababhai not just promised to help the woman but also said he would get her a job in a couple of days. Bababhai soon introduced her to Shantilal Solanki, the vendor of a LPG gas agency and the convenor of the OBC cell of BJP unit for Abdasa taluka of Kutch district, who offered her a job at Rs 5,500 per month.

In her FIR this January, the woman said that she had asked Solanki for advance salary in 2015 since Diwali was approaching.  Solanki had asked her to collect it from his house where she was offered cold drinks before being raped by three persons, allegedly including Solanki. That was the first of several occasions where the woman was allegedly raped in moving cars, hotels and houses of other accused. The trio also filmed the act and blackmailed the victim threatening to circulate the clip.

Tthe Kutch police superintendent had constituted a special investigation team (SIT) after a woman, residing in Mumbai, filed a complaint at Naliya police station on 25 January, alleging she was repeatedly gang-raped and threatened by 10 men, including a local BJP worker, during the last one year. On Tuesday, the SIT arrested Vinod Thakkar, 67, his son Chetan Thakkar, 35, and Ashwin Thakkar, 44, before producing them in a Naliya court, which remanded them to police custody for a fortnight. Here is how the case unfolded over the last few days.

 

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