PATNA: A leader of Congress in Bihar has been booked for allegedly running a sex racket in collusion with a prominent automobile dealer and sexually exploiting a minor girl.
A case was lodged against Brajesh Pandey, vice-president of the state unit of Congress, on Monday after an ongoing probe into the alleged sexual exploitation of the minor girl confirmed his role, said a senior police official. Pandey’s house was raided by a team of policemen on Monday seeking to arrest him, but he is absconding.
“More raids are being conducted to ensure the arrest of the accused. The special investigation team is probing the allegations,” said Anil Kishore Yadav, inspector general of police (weaker sections).
The girl, who is the daughter of a former Bihar minister and Congress leader, had accused both Pandey and Priyadarshi of sexually exploiting her and running a sex racket. Priyadarshi, who is the son of a retired Jharkhand-cadre IAS official, has been absconding since he was named in the case in December 2016. The premises of his automobile showroom on the outskirts of Patna, Priyadarshi Motors, which is said to be the largest car and SUV showroom in Asia, were attached recently on the orders of Bombay High Court due to default on loan payments.
Pandey had contested the 2015 Assembly polls on a Congress ticket in Gobindganj constituency and lost by nearly 28,000 votes. Congress, an ally of Bihar’s coalition government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, faces acute embarrassment over Pandey being booked.
“We are trying to confirm if he (Pandey) has been named (in the case)… Suitable action will be taken after learning the details,” said Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president and state education minister Ashok Chaudhary.
Since the case involves high-profile people linked to politics, business and bureaucracy, the police are allegedly treading cautiously. Sources said the alleged involvement of a number of local politicians and senior government officials is being probed.
The victim alleged that she came into contact with Nikhil Priyadarshi in August 2016 after receiving a “call from a wrong number”. Priyadarshi then invited her to his residence and sexually exploited her with the promise of marriage. An FIR was lodged under various sections of SC/ST Act, POCSO Act and Sections 354 and 356 of IPC by the girl in December 2016.