The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant interim protection from arrest to Atul Rai, the Mahagathbandhan candidate from Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, in a rape case. “Absolutely no case,” a vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna said at the beginning of the hearing, PTI reported.

Rai, a Bahujan Samaj Party leader, is contesting on a joint Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party ticket. He is accused of raping a college student from Varanasi. The college student had filed a first information report against Rai on May 1, alleging that he took her home on the pretext of meeting his wife, but then raped her. Rai has denied the allegations, but has been on the run since the FIR was the filed.

Rai’s counsel said that voting will be held in Ghosi constituency on May 19, and requested that the Lok Sabha candidate be granted protection from arrest.

“It is not a case for quashing,” the court said. “Fight it out. Fight the election and this case too. Sorry. You are well aware about the procedure of quashing.” The bench said the defendant has not filed documents. “We do not know what you are saying,” it added.

The bench also refused to accept the argument of Rai’s counsel that the case was “politically motivated”. “This is very vague,” the judges reported.

The court said that the next hearing in the case will be held on May 27.