A local court convicted 52-year-old Vidya Bhushan Ojha,the peon of a government girls remand home in Shivkuti,for raping at least three minor inmates,all below 10 years of age,and sentenced him to life imprisonment on Tuesday.
Ojha was arrested on April 5 this year. After his arrest,other inmates also accused him of sexually abusing them over a period of time.
The court of Additional District Judge S K Singh also awarded seven-year imprisonment to Suman Srivastava,who was earlier the assistant superintendent of the home,for not taking necessary action when she was informed that Ojha was sexually abusing the inmates.
Further,the court convicted four other persons Harsu Lal Pandey,Vinod Kumar,Rama Singh and Vineet all Class IV employees,and sentenced them to one-year imprisonment for torturing the inmates by making them work under harsh conditions.
Four others,including Urmila Gupta who was the assistant superintendent of the remand home when the incident came to light in April,have been acquitted. Urmila had taken the charge from Suman Srivastava in 2012. The other three to be acquitted were Rama Pati,Nirmala and Gopal,all Class IV employees.
The court was hearing the matter on a day-to-day basis following a direction from the Allahabad High Court,which had taken a suo moto cognizance of the issue. The chargesheet was filed in May and 27 witnesses 14 girl inmates and 13 officials were produced during the trial.
Government counsel Ranendra Pratap Singh,said: The court convicted Suman as it was of the opinion that had she taken the requisite action in the beginning,Ojha would not have been emboldened to commit such an offence.
Ojha was hired on contract basis in June,2006 but he continued to get several extensions despite complaints from the inmates.