NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has written to Akhilesh Yadav asking why has the chief minister retained rape-accused minister Gayatri Prajapati in his cabinet, according to Raj Bhavan sources.
"A non-bailable warrant has been issued against Prajapati after an FIR was registered against him in rape case. Serious question of constitutional morality and dignity arise on his remaining in the cabinet", the Governor said in a letter to the CM seeking his "justification on retaining the minister".
The Governor said, it has also come to his notice that the CM himself has asked the minister to surrender but he has not done so till now and is absconding. There are apprehensions that he might have fled to some foreign country, he said.
On Saturday, passport of the rape-accused UP minister was impounded, a look-out notice issued and airports alerted. The UP Police had claimed that it was conducting raids across the state to trace the absconding minister.
The UP Police has registered an FIR against Prajapati for allegedly gang-raping a woman and molesting her minor daughter with his aides. The FIR was filed recently following a directive of the Supreme Court.
Taking a dig at the Samjawadi Party government for shielding Prajapati, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election meeting in Jaunpur on Saturday said, "In this country, when we do something good, we chant the Gayatri Mantra. But, the SP-Congress alliance is chanting the 'Gayatri Prajapati Mantra'.
"A case has been lodged against him (but) the chief minister went to campaign for him while he (Gayatri) was present there...Now, the police cannot trace him," Modi said.
"A daughter is seeking justice and the chief minister is shielding the gunehgaar (guilty)... What bigger blot can there be than this that in Uttar Pradesh when a buffalo goes missing, the government runs to find it.
Meanwhile, BJP UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya attacked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, saying that if he cannot get his "favourite" minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati arrested in the rape case, he should at least sack him.
"If Chief Minister Akhilesh ji cannot ensure the arrest of his favourite minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, then he can sack him (Prajapati)," Maurya said in a tweet.
Referring to March 11, the date when the UP assembly election results would be declared, Maurya said the BJP would put Prajapati behind bars after that.
"We would arrest him (Prajapati) after March 11," Maurya said.