A Varanasi court on Saturday acquitted Bahujan Samaj Party MP Atul Rai in a 2018 rape case, reported NDTV.
However, he will remain in jail as an abetment to suicide case is pending against him. The complainant in the rape case had died in August last year after setting herself on fire outside the Supreme Court alleging a delay in justice.
On Saturday, the Uttar Pradesh government’s counsel Jyoti Shankar Upadhyay told reporters that Rai was acquitted after a district and sessions court in Varanasi found that some of the nine witnesses produced by the prosecution did not support the case presented against the MP, The Indian Express reported.
The complainant’s lawyer, Rajesh Yadav, said that he will challenge the verdict in the High Court.
In a complaint filed in May 2019, a woman had accused Rai of raping her in 2018 at his home in Varanasi. Rai was jailed in June, but managed to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on a BSP ticket from the Ghosi constituency.
The woman had repeatedly alleged that Rai’s associates harassed her and her family. Before setting herself on fire in Delhi on August 16 last year, the woman, in a Facebook live recording, had also accused the Uttar Pradesh Police of helping Rai.
The police had issued a non-bailable warrant against the woman based on a complaint filed by Rai’s brother Pawan Kumar in 2020. He had accused the woman of forging documents to hide her date of birth while filing the rape complaint.