THE SUPERINTENDENT of the State Women Protection Home in Agra was on Friday arrested for allegedly allowing 45 women and eight minors leave the shelter last month without completing legal formalities and seeking permission from the authorities. The women and children were rescued from brothels during an operation conducted by the district administration in Allahabad in May, last year.
Superintendent Geeta Rakesh was arrested after Puneet Kumar Mishra, deputy chief probation officer of the state Directorate of Women and Child Welfare, got a case registered at Etmadaulla police station in Agra on Thursday. The FIR was lodged under sections 370 (buying or disposing of any person as a slave), 363 (kidnapping ), 180 (refusing to sign statement ), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act-1956.
Geeta Rakesh was produced before the court, which sent her to Agra District Jail.The FIR was lodged on the basis of a probe report submitted by Agra District Probation Officer (DPO) Smita Singh on May 30.The state government, meanwhile, on Friday suspended the DPO, as she was in the dark about the incident. A DPO has the responsibility of keeping an eye on activities at protection homes.
Principal Secretary (Women and Child Development) Renuka Kumar said the probe conducted by the DPO found that Geeta Rakesh had released 45 women and eight children without obtaining an official order. “District Magistrates of Allahabad and Agra have been asked to trace the women and the children, who were released last month,” she added.
Puneet Kumar Mishra, who got the FIR lodged, said: “The probe report stated that the concerned sub-divisional magistrate had sent the women and children to Agra’s protection home for a year. The SDM’s letter, then sent to the home, clearly mentioned that the superintendent should not release them without obtaining permission.”
The one-year period ended on May 21. Following this, the Allahabad SDM sent another letter to the protection home on May 18, extending the stay of the women and the children for two more years at the shelter. A copy of the letter was also sent to the DPO, said Mishra.
“However, the superintendent released the women and the eight children on May 21, 22 and 23, without seeking permission from any authority. She claimed to have received the Allahabad SDM’s order on May 24,” he added.
“The DPO, in her report, has stated that when she asked the superintendent to provide the names and addresses of those who were handed over the custody of the women and children, Geeta Rakesh could provide details of just 10 of them… she claimed she would have look into the records to compile the details of the others,” Mishra said.