NEW DELHI:Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday landed in an unwanted controversy after it emerged that he had met Sushma Singhvi, founder of an NGO who has been named as accused in air hostess Anissia Batra’s suicide case.
However, Prabhu had met Singhvi, who was Batra’s mother-in-law, as part of the BJP’s ‘Sampark se Samarthan’ initiative on July 11, two days before the air hostess jumped to death. Batra’s parents have accused her husband and in-laws of harassing her for dowry.
“Met Ms. Sushma Singhvi, Founder President of Gunjan Foundation, an NGO dedicated to supporting educational and other welfare measure for underprivileged children esp. girls under the #SamparkForSamarthan initiative. Shared the achievement of our Govt. in the last 4 years,” Prabhu had tweeted after meeting Singhvi.
The minister deleted the tweet after Singhvi’s name was added in the FIR filed in the case. An official in Prabhu’s office admitted that the meeting took place. However, he clarified that the minister met Singhvi as his a representative of his party and government for the outreach programme and that he did not know her personally.
Batra, 39, had jumped off the terrace of her Panchsheel Park house in south Delhi. In the FIR filed with the Hauz Khas police station under IPC section 340B (dowry death), her husband Mayank Singhvi, mother-in-law Sushma Singhvi and father-in-law Rajinder Singhvi were named as accused. The Batra family has alleged that it was a murder and that Mayank had been assaulting her since early days of her marriage in 2016.
Weeks before the incident, on June 27, Batra’s father, a retired major-general in Chandigarh, had also filed a complaint at Hauz Khas police station expressing concern for his daughter’s safety, stating: “If anything happens to Anissia, Singhvi and his parents are to be held responsible for it.”The police arrested Mayank on July 16 after hour-long questioning and the next day he was sent to 14-day judicial custody.