Uttar Pradesh parliamentarian Atul Rai, in jail since 2019, was today acquitted of a rape charge by a court in Varanasi. He will however not be released from prison because of other pending cases against him.
Atul Rai was elected to the Lok Sabha MP from Ghosi in the eastern part of the state on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket. He had surrendered after winning the 2019 national election.
A 24-year-old woman from eastern Uttar Pradesh had accused Atul Rai of rape in 2019. In her complaint to the police, the woman said Atul Rai had raped her in 2018 at his Varanasi residence. She died in a Delhi hospital in August last year, a week after she and her male friend set themselves afire outside the Supreme Court. The woman’s friend also died of burn injuries
The woman and her friend did a Facebook Live video before setting themselves on fire. In the video, they accused the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, where she had filed the case of colluding with the jailed MP and his relatives. The two said they expected no justice.
Atul Rai is also an accused in the abetment to suicide case filed by the Uttar Pradesh police in the matter and his bail was rejected by the Allahabad High Court in this case in July.
The BSP leader surrendered in June 2019, a month after the woman had filed a case against the politician. He has been in jail since.
In November 2020, Atul Rai’s brother filed a forgery case against the woman, also in Varanasi.
The same year, the Supreme Court allowed Atul Rai to take oath as a parliamentarian while on parole. The Allahabad High Court had granted him two-day parole for his oath in parliament after his lawyer pleaded that he had not been sworn in since his election.