Bureaucrats are the most powerful in a government after the political leaders. In many cases, their role is more important than the leader as they are responsible for implementing government schemes in the region. However, during the period of Jungle Raj in Bihar, even the IAS officers were not safe. Champa Vishwas was the wife of one such officer. She was brutally raped and the incident not only shook the state but the whole country.
Allegations of sexual exploitation of politicians in Bihar are not new. In recent times, several prominent leaders were named in the Muzaffarpur Girls’ Home Scandal. RJD has given tickets to the wives of two rapist MLAs. As these incidents are happening openly nowadays, one can only imagine the situation when Lalu Prasad Yadav was in power in Bihar. Anti-social elements connected to Lalu could do anything in Bihar. Let’s discuss one of such dark incidents that took place during that time.
Champa Vishwas’s rape: A blot on Bihar’s reputation
Murders and kidnappings during Lalu’s Jungle Raj were so common that people had stopped to consider them as news. The ruling party leaders were goons and never faced any action in crimes like sexual exploitation and murder. However, when IAS officer BB Vishwas accused Lalu Yadav’s close aide Mriyutanjay Yadav of raping his wife and several other relatives in two years, there was chaos all around.
If the case had gone to the police, either the file would have been ended in the pile of forgotten cases or action would have been taken against the victims. But, the matter came to the limelight when the victim wrote a letter to the then-Governor of Bihar, Sunder Singh Bhandari and pleaded for justice. Sexual exploitation for two years of wife and relatives of an IAS officer was not a small case.
BB Vishwas, a 1982 batch IAS officer, was the Director of Social Security in the Labor Department of Bihar at that time. He had alleged that Mrityunjay (then-27-year-old), along with his friends, raped not only his wife but also his mother, two maids, and a niece. He restored to intimidation, greed, violence, and coercion in the act. Champa Vishwas was 30-years-old at that time.
Champa Vishwas had to undergo abortion once. In the end, she had to get herself sterilized. She had to take the step to avoid getting pregnant after repeated rape. She also feared that he killed her niece Kalyani and two maidservants who went missing. Taking cognizance of the matter, the Governor had recommended the case to the Home Minister.
He also ordered Niaz Ahmad, the then-DGP of Bihar, to investigate the case. Mrityunjay Yadav had also written a book on Lalu Yadav. On 8th August 1998, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi held a press conference in Patna and said that even the women of influential and respected families are no longer safe in Bihar because of the goons of RJD. The latter think that they can escape anything.
पटना की सड़कों पर दिनदहाड़े शिल्पी गौतम की हत्या हो या आइएएस विश्वास की पत्नी चंपा विश्वास का आरजेडी विधायक के बेटे द्वारा बलात्कार, लालू-राबड़ी के अंधकार-युग में बिहार ऐसी ही घटनाओं के लिए कुख्यात था।हम आपको याद दिला रहे हैं,राजद के उस गुंडाराज का।@yadavtejashwi #RJDKaGundaRaj pic.twitter.com/4x49eIVLd7— BJP Bihar (@BJP4Bihar) April 17, 2019
Despite being an officer of higher rank, BB Vishwas could not save his family from the goons. It shows how powerful their influence was at that time. Vishwas later shifted to Delhi with his entire family. Champa, while claiming that her husband’s life was in danger, said he came to know about the case much later. Mrityunjay’s mother, Hemlata Yadav, was also an MLA, and she was the chairperson of the Bihar Social Welfare Advisory Board.
At that time, he said that the allegations were false and it was a conspiracy against him and his mother. He also accused BB Vishwas of not performing his duty properly and being absent from the office. Mohammad Namtullah, who was the chief whip of the RJD in the assembly at that time, said that he knows Hemlata’s family personally and her son cannot do anything like that.
His statement was somewhat similar to the one Mulayam Singh Yadav gave when his son Akhilesh Yadav was in power. He said about the rapists that, “these are boys, they make mistakes.” All those incidents were happening while Mriotyunjay’s history was full of black spots. He was arrested three years prior to that case for sexually harassing a politician’s daughter. Hemlata was a close aide to Lalu Yadav for eight years.
The allegations against Mrityunjay
BB Vishwas’s family lived in a government quarter located in Bailey Road, Patna. In her complaint, Champa said that an officer and his wife, who were living next door, called and took them to their quarter. Mrityunjay and Hemlata were already sitting there. They locked Champa along with Mrityunjay, where he raped her. It was alleged that Hemlata threatened her if she tells anyone about the incident, her family members would be killed and they will make her objectionable photographs public.
One day, Mrityunjay again came with his mother and more people. He also had a camera. He insisted Champa to get married to him. His mother said that he is smart and belongs to a reputed family, so Champa should marry him. They described Champa’s husband as old and said once Hemlata gets the position of a minister, she will make her president of some department. Mrityunjay then again raped her.
According to the complaint, in December 1995, once again, Mritunjay came and noticed Champa Vishwas’s mother in the kitchen. He hugged and kissed her mother, who got scared and asked Champa to shift from the flat immediately. He also raped Kalyani, niece of Champa Vishwas. He got a maid on his side and drugged BB Vishwas. Several friends of Mritunjay also raped her.
तब आपकी उम्र क्या रही होगी तेजस्वी जी .. ?— Manish Kumar Pandey (@KrpandeyKumar) August 6, 2018
शायद आपको चंपा विश्वास कांड याद नहीं होगा पूछ लीजिएगा शिवानंद तिवारी जी से या रघुवंश बाबू से…
लालू जी के राज में बिहार में 1982 बैच के एक सीनियर IAS हुआ करते थे।… https://t.co/bsyGGRHQfw
In the letter sent to the National Human Rights Commission, Champa alleged that a very prominent leader of Bihar also raped her, who was often known as the Messiah of the Jungle Raj. She alleged that police did not present her statement accurately in the court and changed it. After shifting to Delhi, her family was so scared that they shifted their home 20 times.
In 2010, the Patna High Court overturned the trial court’s verdict that acquitted Hemlata Yadav and Mritunjay in the case related to Champa Vishwas rape. The accused alleged that they were made a scapegoat in the fight between RJD and BJP. He said that Sushil Modi was behind the issue, and he ruined his life; otherwise, he would have studied in Hindu College in Delhi and would have been preparing for civil services. He said most of his friends are now in civil services.
One of the statements that Mritunjay made in September 2005 must be discussed. He alleged that he was framed to save several prominent leaders of RJD. He also alleged that the judge who sentenced him was later promoted. He said there was a threat to his life and the whole investigation was corrupt. According to him, he was used for political gains.