IIT-BHU rape accused posted photos with top BJP leaders, of BJP campaigns

The accused, who were held nearly two months after the incident, were allegedly involved in other incidents of molestation.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
Date:
Pictures of UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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The social media profile of at least one of the three accused, who have been arrested over an alleged gangrape on IIT-BHU premises, is replete with pictures of him posing with senior BJP leaders. It should be noted here that none of these posts were made after the alleged crime.

While Kunal Pandey and Saksham Patel were the coordinator and co-coordinator of the BJP IT cell’s Varanasi unit, Abhishek Chauhan was also part of the same unit.

The three were arrested in the early hours of Sunday over the incident which allegedly took place in November last year. According to a report in The Indian Express, the accused are learnt to have told the police that they were involved in three other cases of molestation on campus.

While several opposition leaders have tried to target the BJP over ostensible links of the accused to the party, BJP Varanasi (Mahanagar) president Vidyasagar told The Indian Express that the three are no longer members of the party’s IT cell in Varanasi.

While the Facebook pages of Pandey, who is married to the daughter of a BJP leader, and Chauhan are now locked, Newslaundry found that Saksham Patel’s social media profile had a series of pictures with the BJP brass – posted in 2022.

On Facebook, Saksham Patel claimed to be a co-convener of the Varanasi IT cell. With over 1,300 Facebook friends, he actively posted on the profile from January to September, 2022. 

A picture posted by him in April 2022 shows him in RSS uniform, wishing people “Hindu New Year”.

On January 4, he uploaded a profile picture with BJP president JP Nadda, and on January 30, he uploaded a picture with Adityanath. 

Patel has also posted twice about his meetings with the BJP Union Minister Anurag Thakur – first on January 22 and then on March 2

Within a period of six months, he posted six pictures with UP Jal Shakti minister Swatantra Dev Singh.

The same day he posted a picture with JP Nadda, he uploaded another profile picture with Swatantra Dev Singh. Around 10 days later, he posted another picture with the BJP leader, congratulating him on being elected as BJP UP Head. The next week, he posted a picture of Singh surrounded by girls to wish his followers the National Girl Child Day. 

In February, he posted a collage of pictures of his meetings with Singh to wish him on his birthday. And in March, he uploaded a picture showing him sitting with Singh to congratulate him on his induction as a UP cabinet minister. In August, he posted about another meeting with the minister. 

Of all the BJP leaders, Patel has posted the highest number of photographs with Varanasi BJP MLA Saurabh Srivastava. Nine times. 

Right before the UP assembly elections in February 2022, he posted eight pictures with Srivastava, campaigning for him. On February 7, he uploaded a profile picture with the leader. On February 16, he posted several pictures from his election rally which he was part of. On March 7, he uploaded another photo, stating that it was the first time had voted for Srivastava.On April 5, he uploaded another picture in which the BJP MLA can be seen greeting him by placing a scarf around Patel’s neck. 

In August, Patel was also allegedly part of PM Modi’s Har Ghar Tiranga Programme with Srivastava. And in January, Patel was also part of a  flag hoisting ceremony at Modi’s office in Varanasi on the occasion of Republic Day.

In January, 2022, he also posted twice about his meeting with BJP Gujarat general secretary Ratnakar.

A report in The Print suggested the Facebook profiles of all the three accused had their pictures with BJP leaders. BJP’s UP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told The Print that “even if they have got pictures clicked with anyone, they will face the law of the land and strict action will be taken against them under our government”. 

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