The Shiv Sena today came out in support of senior IPS officer Sunil Paraskar accused of rape by a young city-based model, claiming that it has become a "fashion" to charge men with rape to seek personal revenge.
"Cases of charging men with molestation and rape in hi-fi societies to create hype is on a rise now. It has almost become a fashion. After he has served for so many years in the police force, one model now charges DIG Sunil Praskar with rape and in one night he becomes a villain. Such accusations have become good weapons to seek personal revenge," the party said in its mouthpiece Saamana.
However, Sena's ally, BJP did not support it on this issue.
"It takes a woman a lot of guts to register a complaint, especially if she has been molested or raped and to suggest that she does it as a fashion statement is ridiculous. It calls for a change of mindset. It is clearly something that I condemn," BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said.
"New laws were made after the shameful Nirbhaya incident, but have cases of rape decreased?" the editorial asked.
"When the truth has to come out, it will. But till then the media trial the accused has to go through damages his morale," it said.
Hitting out at Shiv Sena over the editorial, the model said such comments should not made be without knowing the facts.
"This matter is in the court, no one should be commenting in sensitive matters like this without knowing all the facts," she said, speaking to PTI.
She also said that Paraskar should produce evidence rather than making public the emails sent by her to him.
"Paraskar should provide the evidence (in his defence) to the media rather than showing the mails where I abused him or said that I will file an FIR against him. What do you expect from a girl who had been raped? Should she give respect to the guy who rapes her?" she asked.
Paraskar's post in the police force at the time of the incident stopped her from immediately filing a complaint.
"Yes it took me time to go to the police. He was an additional commissioner at the time, I knew (about) his power, even today he is taking support from Shiv Sena and others. I have all the mails where I told him what he has done with me and there was no response from his end," she added.
If Paraskar was really innocent, he should have forthwith registered an FIR against her for defamation, she said.
The editorial said, "All the laws in the country favour women so anyone can slap any charge against anyone. The judicial system has to open its eyes and ensure that justice is served to the innocent."
The Sena mouthpiece questioned the model's intentions to file rape charges against the DIG when everything between the two "was fine" till now.
"What is the model's background? How did she suddenly make a rape accusation when everything between them was fine until now? This question comes to the mind of a common man but the police investigation seems to ignore these questions," it said.
It questioned the delay in filing the case saying that a woman who has been subjected to such a torture will not be able to wait for so long to get justice.
"This model filed charges after six months.... We have to remember after the unfortunate rape incident at Shakti mills, the victim filed her complaint in a couple of hours. No woman will be able to bear this inhuman treatment on her for even a minute. She would file a complaint immediately," the Sena said adding that the facts of the case should be brought in public as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, reacting to the criticism of the party's stand on the issue, Shiv Sena youth wing chief Aditya Thackeray too backed Paraskar and said an accused should not be subjected to a "media trial".
"Read the complete editorial and see what it says. We do not want to defend anyone. Such accusations, when happen, are very sensitive in nature....We are only saying before an accused is proven guilty by the courts, they should not be put on a media trial and termed rapists," he said.
"There have been false cases against Rahul Gandhi (Congress vice-president) and P J Kurien (deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha) in the past. These cases underwent a judicial trial and they were finally pronounced not guilty. So no one should be shown in a bad light until charges are proven," Thackeray added.