Eleven people, including the principal and trustees of a government-aided ashram school in Buldana district, were arrested Thursday after a Class 4 student complained of sexual assault by the school’s sweeper. Investigation officers said school authorities were aware of the incident, but did not bring it to the notice of the police.
The co-education school at Pala village in Khamgaon tehsil is run by a private educational institute. Its president Gajanan Kokare and two members — Sanjay Kokare and Purushottam Kokare — were among those arrested under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for not reporting the incident.
The victim had gone home for Diwali, when she complained of stomach ache to her parents. On being pressed, she told them about the sexual assault. The parents then brought it to the notice of former revenue minister Eknath Khadse, who contacted senior BJP leader and Buldana Guardian Minister Pandurang Phundkar.
A complaint was later registered, leading to the arrest of 11 people — main accused Ittusingh Pawar, sweeper and ex-student of the school, principal Digambar Kharat, superintendent Narayan Ambore, lab assistant Swapnil Lakhe, cook Deepak Kokare, superintendent Lalita Vajire and cooks Mantha Kokare and Shewanta Raut. They have all been remanded in police custody till November 10.
State Director General of Police Satish Mathur has ordered an inquiry into the incident by a Special Investigative Team (SIT) headed by CID (Crime) Superintendent of Police Aarti Singh. Singh has reached Buldana and has started the probe. “The school authorities were aware of his misdeeds but didn’t care to inform the police,” Singh told The Indian Express.