The Pune city police have so far arrested and chargesheeted nine staffers of the Shivajinagar observation home, including the assistant superintendent, in connection with the FIR lodged by Vilas Pandare of Ghodegaon. Police have also detained three of the 10 juveniles accused in the case. According to Pandare, as per the orders of the Child Welfare Committee, Pune, in 2015, 27 minor boys were admitted to Balakashram. Of these, 14 boys came from the observation home in Shivajinagar. Pandare said the behaviour of these 14 boys was objectionable. So, when he spoke to each of them separately in an informal manner, they shared shocking tales of sexual abuse and harassment at the Shivajinagar observation home.
Pandare claimed he had earlier filed the same complaint with the women and child welfare department in October 2016 but no action was taken by the government following which he filed an FIR with the police against the then supervisor, staff and some juveniles at the remand home in Shivajinagar under sections 377, 323, 506 of the IPC, sections of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015.
An official from the women and child development department said, “A departmental inquiry has been conducted in this regard. Based on the findings, the then district WCD officer has been served a showcause notice, asking why the officers involved not be suspended from service.”
Meanwhile, the Shivajinagar police are also probing another case of sexual abuse at the Shivajinagar home. Police have detained three juveniles in this case. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1) Basavraj Teli said, “The probe in the two cases related to the Shivajinagar observation home is in the final stages and arrests have been made.”
Meanwhile, cases of unnatural sex and harassment of minors by other inmates have also been reported at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Udyog Kendra, a juvenile home, in Yerwada. In June this year, an offence of unnatural sex was registered against a 20-year-old youth for allegedly harassing minors at the home. Sachin Jadhav (30), staffer at the home, lodged the offence at the Yerwada police station. Similar cases were also reported in February this year and September last year at this juvenile home.