Jayanti Bhanushali, a former Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president who was shot dead on a train in Gujarat last night, was murdered at the behest of a party rival, the family of the slain leader has alleged. Jayanti Bhansuhali's family claimed that Chhabil Patel, a former Gujarat MLA, was behind the murder.
Patel, Jayanti Bhansuhali's family further claimed, was also responsible for engineering a rape case against the murdered BJP leader. That rape case was quashed by the Gujarat High Court last year after the woman who had accused Jayanti Bhanushali of rape withdrew her complaint.
Chhabil Patel, who defected to the BJP from the Congress in 2014, left for the United States yesterday, Jayanti Bhansuhali's family also claimed.
Jayanti Bhansuhali was murdered around 2 am onboard a train in Gujarat. Bhanushali was shot dead inside an AC compartment of the Sayajinagri Express, which runs between Bhuj in Gujarat and Dadar in Mumbai. Bhansuhali was on his way to Ahmedabad.
Bhansuhali's murderers have yet to be identified and police said that two bullets were fired at him.
Bhanushali was a former legislator; he represented the Abdasa assembly constituency from 2007 to 2012. Chhabil Patel, the man who Jayanti Bhansuhali's family believes ordered the murder, also once represented the Abdasa constituency, which is located in Kutch.
In 2012, Chhabil Patel, who was then in the Congress party, defeated Jayanti Bhanushali in the Gujarat assembly election. In 2014, however, byelections were held on the seat after Chhabil Patel defected to the BJP. Patel lost the byelection to the Congress's Shaktisinh Gohil. The Congress retained the Abdasa seat in the 2017 Gujarat assembly election.
THE RAPE CASE
In July 2018, a woman from Gujarat's Surat alleged that she had been raped several times by Jayanti Bhanushali. Bhanushali denied the allegation but quit as the Bhartiya Janata Party vice-president.
In August 2018, the Gujarat High Court quashed the rape FIR against Jayanti Bhanushali after the woman withdrew her complaint.
Now, Jayanti Bhanushali's family has alleged that Chhabil Patel had gotten the woman to file the rape case in the first place.
Chhabil Patel himself faces allegations of rape. In October 2018, a Delhi-based woman had accused him of raping and blackmailing her.
(With inputs from Gopi Maniar in Ahmedabad)
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