M A I N   N E W S

Booked for molestation, J&K minister steps down
HC rejects Shabir Ahmad Khan’s plea to seek bail in Jammu
Amir Karim Tantray & Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Srinagar, February 7
Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Health (independent charge) Shabir Ahmad Khan sent his resignation to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today following allegations of molestation by a woman doctor.

Governor NN Vohra accepted the resignation after the Chief Minister forwarded it to him. Earlier in the day, Omar tweeted: “I have received the resignation of Minister of State for Health Shabir Khan and am forwarding the same to the Governor for acceptance.”

Shabir Ahmad Khan, senior Congress leader who represents the Rajouri Assembly constituency, has gone into hiding ever since the woman doctor levelled allegations of molestation against him and the police registered an FIR in the case following court’s intervention.

A case under Sections 354 and 509 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) has been registered against the minister. Section 354 deals with assault or use of criminal force against a woman with an intention to outrage her modesty, while Section 509 deals with words, gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

The complainant said she had been receiving repeated calls from Khan’s office asking her to meet the minister for official work, sources said. When she visited the minister’s office at the winter secretariat last month, he made sexual advances to her, she alleged. The doctor alleged the police were initially reluctant to register a case against the minister, so she approached a court, which ordered the filing of a case against Khan. An FIR was registered on Thursday night.

However, the police have officially denied that there had been any reluctance on their part in registering the case. A police spokesperson said the woman approached the police for the first time around 1 pm on February 6 and the case was registered by the evening the same day.

Khan can be arrested in connection with the case, but the police have not taken any action against him so far. He had reportedly applied for anticipatory bail in Jammu, but his plea was rejected. “He has been advised to apply for bail in Srinagar, but no lawyer from Jammu is ready to represent him there,” sources said. The Advocate General has been now asked to persuade some lawyer to represent Khan in Srinagar.

A police investigation team today photographed the site at the winter secretariat in Srinagar where the alleged incident had taken place and also recorded the statements of an official and two lower-rung employees of the minister’s office. When asked whether the police will arrest Khan in Jammu, Inspector General of Police (Jammu zone) Rajesh Kumar said, “The case pertains to the IGP, Kashmir, and if we receive any communications from them, we will act according to the law.”

Woman doctor’s complaint

* A woman doctor had been receiving calls from Minister of State for Health (independent charge) Shabir Khan’s office asking her to meet him for official work

* When she visited the office at the winter secretariat on January 28, the minister allegedly molested her

* The doctor alleged the police were reluctant to register an FIR. She then approached a court, which ordered the registration of a case

Governor accepts resignation

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra accepted the resignation of Shabir Ahmad Khan’s on Friday evening.





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