Samajwadi Party MLA Arun Verma has been booked for allegedly murdering a woman who had accused him and seven others of gang-rape in 2013. Verma represents Sadar assembly seats of Sultanpur.
According to police, the 21-year-old, who was missing since Saturday, was found dead near a primary school in Jaisinghpur on Sunday and a case against Verma was lodged by the woman’s father.
The incident, that took place in the midst of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, took a political colour since the MLA is seeking re-election even as Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that the case may be probed by any agency that the victim's family wants.
Police said that the injury mark around her neck suggested prima facie that she was strangled to death. The body has been sent for autopsy to ascertain the cause of death. The woman had alleged that the local MLA, who is seeking re-election on SP ticket from Sultanpur, and some others had gangraped her in September 2013.
At one stage, the woman had withdrawn her allegation and some local youths were chargesheeted. The trial in the case is still continuing.
Police is probing the death and going through call records of the woman.
An FIR has been registered in this regard against the MLA under section 302 IPC (murder) on complaint of victim's family, a senior officer said.
Commenting on the case, Verma said that he was prepared to face any probe.
"It is a conspiracy against me, I am ready to face inquiry by any agency even CBI," he said.
Akhilesh, when asked to comment on the incident involving Verma who is considered close to him, said it was condemnable.
"This is not only unfortunate, but highly condemnable. The family should get justice. Government is ready to recommend a probe by any agency sought by the victim's family," he said in Badaun on Monday.
Meanwhile, BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma has alleged that the UP government was working to save the accused lawmaker.
"The murder of a woman after she accused the MLA of raping her is shameful.... The state government has been trying to save the accused," he told reporters.