The first session of 17th Lok Sabha started on Monday with the oath-taking ceremony of 542 MPs.
As MPs thronged the Parliament to take over their duties, there were whispers in corridors about BSP MP Atul Rai.
Rai, who won from Uttar Pradesh's Ghosi, is accused of rape and is absconding for over a month. And he didn't turn up at Parliament either.
Rai allegedly raped a college student at his home
On May 2, Rai was booked for rape on the basis of a complaint of a girl from Ballia. The victim, a college student, claimed Rai took her to his home under the pretext of meeting his wife. There he raped her.
An FIR was registered at Lanka police station under IPC Sections 376, 504, 506 and 420.
Notably, Rai denied the allegations.
Rai "went missing", didn't even attend his election rally
Rai claimed he was innocent and was being "framed" in a false case. However, he was nowhere to be seen on voting and results days.
Even on May 15, when BSP Chief Mayawati and her foe-turned-friend Akhilesh Yadav visited Ghosi to campaign for him, Rai remained absent.
His wife Priyanka and brother Praveen filled in for him. On stage, they spoke about his "innocence".
Rai won despite the allegations, thanked voters on Facebook
Rape charges notwithstanding, Rai won from Ghosi by a comfortable margin of 1,22,568 votes.
He posted a Facebook video on May 24, thanking voters for choosing him. "The public's court is above any other court and the public's court has proved me innocent. I will soon be free of legal proceedings," Rai had said.
His wife reiterated that Rai is not guilty.
Earlier, SC refused to protect Rai from arrest
On May 27, Rai approached the Supreme Court seeking protection from arrest, but he was denied any relief.
Rai's lawyer told CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led bench that there is no provision for an anticipatory bail in UP. He added Rai knocked on SC's doors after High Court didn't give him protection.
SC said it isn't inclined to entertain such a plea.
Obviously, BJP targeted BSP, said Rai is ignoring law
Denied protection of any kind, Rai has chosen to go underground. This gave an opportunity to BJP to flay with BSP.
BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, "Mayawati should ask her MP to surrender and submit before the law. His continued disregard of the law is reflecting poorly on Mayawati as well as the MP. Police have even begun proceedings of attaching his property."