Satara: A manhunt has been launched to trace leading Marathi writer Laxman Mane, who has been booked for raping three Dalit women working at a school he runs, police said on Tuesday. Mane's family meanwhile dismissed the charges.
"He is still absconding and police teams are investigating the matter," an official from Satara police control told IANS.
A former Maharashtra legislative council member, the 63-year old Mane has been charged with raping three women who were working as temporary cooks at a residential tribal school he runs at Jakatwadi in Satara, around 250 kms to the south-east of Mumbai.
Mane was conferred the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981 and Padma Shri in 2009, besides several other awards and honours.
According to police, the complaints were lodged on Monday night by the trio - married and aged between 30-35 - alleging Mane raped them under the lure of making them permanent employees of the school.
The victims - all aged between 30 and 35 - have claimed that he raped them between 2003 and 2010 in the school premises, at his home in Satara and at a guest house in Pune.
After registering offences under Indian Penal Code Sec. 376 (rape), police teams have visited Mane's home and other known places frequented by him, but so far he remains untraceable, the official said.
Meanwhile, Mane's family has stoutly denied the allegations against Mane and claimed that he is being framed in the false case case to malign his reputation.
Mane was conferred the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981 and Padma Shri in 2009, besides several other awards and honours during his writing career.