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Facing arrest for rape, absconding UP minister Gayatri Prajapati gets no relief from Supreme Court

In a big setback for Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati, the Supreme Court today rejected his petition seeking stay on his arrest in a rape case.

Rejecting Prajapati's petition challenging its order, the apex court bench headed by Justice Arjan Kumar has asked Prajapati to move a lower court if he wants any relief in the case.

The Supreme Court said it has not ordered the arrest of the absconding Samajwadi Party leader and had merely asked for an FIR to be filed and the beginning of an investigation into the case. The court also clarified it was not monitoring the case.

On the directive of the Supreme Court, the Uttar Pradesh police has filed an FIR against Prajapati in connection with separate cases of gangrape and attempt to rape another woman and her minor daughter.

Prajapati's passport was impounded on Saturday and a look-out notice too issued against him following reports that he was planning on leaving the country to avoid arrest. Prajapati is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl and her mother repeatedly over two years on the promise of a position in the state's ruling Samajwadi Party and sand mining contracts.

Prajapati, who holds the transport department portfolio in Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's Cabinet, is contesting the ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly election on his party's ticket from Amethi.

On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik had raised serious questions of "constitutional morality and dignity" over his continuance in the Akhilesh Council of Ministers.

"A non-bailable warrant has been issued against Prajapati after an FIR was registered against him in rape case. Serious questions of constitutional morality and dignity arise on his remaining in the Cabinet," the Governor said in a letter to Akhilesh.