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NCW chief acts as judge and jury, calls Shiney a rapist

Jun 19, 2009 11:37 PM IST India India
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Mumbai: It's been four days since Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested for allegedly raping his maid. Now everyone from film personalities, to the National Commission for Women (NCW), to even the Chief Minister of Maharashtra have jumped onto the celebrity case.

NCW Chief Girija Vyas is convinced the maid was raped. She played the judge, jury and executioner for Shiney Ahuja and condemned him as a rapist at a press conference on Friday.

But matters were far more bizarre than that. Attending the press conference was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan - and he himself couldn't convincingly explain what he was doing there.

"I had actually come for a conference on global warming," he said.

However, that didn't stop him from holding forth on the case and collecting some publicity. He enthusiastically offered his legal view on the case saying that the maid was indeed raped and then offered the alleged victim the state's help, from committing the case to a fast track court to even offering rehabilitation to the victim.

The case will now be tried in a fast track court.

But when asked, the Chief Minister was unsure of what the state has done for the other unglamorous rape victims.

"We have a policy whereby rape victims are rehabilitated by the state government," he said.

Meanwhile prompted by a call from an anonymous maid, the NCW team met with both the victim and Shiney Ahuja's wife Anupama.

Shiney has been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (rape), 346 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (threat to kill), among others.

The 35-year-old actor has starred in movies like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Gangster, Karam, Woh Lamhe, Fanaa, Hijack, Life In A Metro, and Bhool Bhulaiyya among others.

He has bagged over half a dozen awards for his movies in the six years that he has been acting.

The Chief Minister may claim that the state is genuinely interesting in crusading for justice for the victim, but the fact that he is personally interested in an individual - but glamourous - rape case definitely raises the question of whether Chavan is looking to cash in on the publicity of this case given the fact that the elections are just around the corner.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that Congress President Sonia Gandhi has pulled up Ashok Chavan for attending the NCW press briefing over the Shiney Ahuja case.

Meanwhile, Shiney is now counting on two former domestic helps to testify for him.

A maid who works for the actor, Usha Waghmare, says, "I have been working there for seven years. I can't believe that he has done it. I had gone there on that day but I don't know what happened. If she (the alleged victim) was molested on the first day, why did she stay and come to work the next day? She could have told me the first day."

Another maid, Sarita Waghmare adds, "She (the alleged victim) said nothing. Even today we had gone there to work. He (Shiney Ahuja) is not that type of a man."