In a major embarrassment to the Gujarat unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its leader from Porbandar district, Mansukh Dhokai was arrested by Rajkot city police on Tuesday after a minor girl filed a complaint alleging the politician had repeatedly raped her over the last two years. The AAP took a hard stance against Dhokai and expelled him from the party summarily.
Dhokai, who was AAP candidate from Porbandar for the Lok Sabha elections early this year, was picked up by a team of Rajkot city police from his residence in Porbandar in the wee hours of Tuesday. The 59-year-old politician was formally arrested by women police station of city police at 1 pm.
The arrest came hours after a Class XI girl lodged a police complaint on Monday night stating Dhokai, a distant relative, raped her around 10 days prior to Diwali last month. The 17-year-old victim further stated that the man, whom she used to call mamaji (as her mother used to call him a brother), had first raped her two years ago in a hotel near Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) central bus station in Rajkot after taking her out in the name of showing her around the city. After forcing himself on the minor in the hotel room, Dhokai threatened the girl that he would kill her parents if she told anybody about the incident, police said.
The victim further stated in his complaint that around six months after the first assault, Dhokai raped her in her own house and threatened her with a firearm. The minor was subjected to similar attack six months later again, police said.
The episode came to light when the girl stopped going to school after Diwali vacation and her teachers alerted her parents. After the girl narrated her horrors to principal of her school, the matter was reported to social defence officer of Rajkot district, who, in turn contacted police.
“The traumatised girl had stopped going to school and instead would stay at home her relative. She was sent to Rajkot Civil Hospital for medical examination and we are waiting for reports,” Hansa Solanki, police sub-inspector who is investigating the case said.
The PSI said that Dhokai has, however, refused the accusations. “During primary interrogation, Dhokai said that he is being fixed in this case as the girl’s father owes him money and which the latter does not want to repay. But, we are further investigating the case,” said Solanki.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for zone-II, Manish Ninama said no weapon was recovered from Dhokai. “We are investigating if he holds any arm licence and if he has any weapon at all,” said the DCP.
Dhokail runs a private finance firm and according to his affidavit filed for the Lok Sabha elections, he is also chairman of Siddhivinayak Credit Cooperative Socieity in Porbandar. He was member of AAP committee for Porbandar district and had fought the Parliamentary elections. However, he had lost to Vitthal Radadiya of the BJP.
As the reports of Dhokai’s arrest started streaming in, Gujarat AAP expelled him from the party with immediate effect.
“This is with reference to a shameful incident which has come to light. Newspapers have reported that AAP candidate from Porbandar for the Lok Sabha election, Mansukhbhai Dhokai is accused of raping an innocent girl. AAP condemns this incident in strongest words and based on primary information coming in through the media, Mansukh Dhokai is hereby expelled from the party,” AAP Gujarat media coordinator Harshil Nayak said in a release.
Nayak further stated that AAP functionaries had visited parents of the victim and had assured them that the party would stand by them to get justice.