A local court convicted Vidya Bhushan Ojha,52,the peon accused of raping at least three minor inmates of the government girls remand home in Shivkuti,and sentenced him life imprisonment on Tuesday. Ojha was arrested on April 5. Later,other inmates had also accused him of sexually abusing them over a period of time.
Additional District Judge S K Singh also awarded seven-year imprisonment to Suman Srivastava,who was the assistant superintendent of the remand home,for not taking necessary action when she was informed that Ojha was sexually abusing the inmates.
The court convicted four employees of the remand home Harsu Lal Pandey,Vinod Kumar,Rama Singh and Vineet and sentenced them to one-year imprisonment each for torturing the inmates. Another four persons,including Urmila Gupta,who was the assistant superintendent of the remand home when the incident came to light in April,were acquitted. Urmila had taken over from Suman Srivastava in 2012. The other three to be acquitted were Rama Pati,Nirmala and Gopal,all class IV employees.
The court pronounced the order after hearing the matter on a day-to-day basis following a direction from the Allahabad High Court. The chargesheet in the case was filed in May.
District Government Counsel Ranendra Pratap Singh said,Apart from sentencing Ojha,the court convicted Suman Srivastava as it was of the opinion that had she taken the requisite action in the beginning itself,Ojha would not have been emboldened to commit such an offence.
Ojha had been employed as a peon on contract basis in June 2006 at the remand home. He continued to get several extensions and no action was taken against him despite complaints from the inmates.
A total of 27 witnesses were produced before the court. Out of them 14 were girl inmates,the others being official witnesses, added
The nefarious activities of Ojha came to light on April 5 when he was arrested on charges of raping at least three minors. The administration then transferred the then District Probation Officer and other officials. A magisterial inquiry was also ordered. The Allahabad HC had taken a suo motu cognisance of the matter.