Based on a criminal complaint petition filed by a follower of self-styled godman Nithyananda, a special POCSO court in Ahmedabad ordered to file an FIR against several police officers and child welfare committee officials for allegedly showing obscene pornographic content to children last month. The FIR was lodged at the Vivekanandnagar police station on Friday.
The private criminal complaint was moved by one Girish Turlapati wherein he alleged that police officer and CWC officials “under the guise of carrying out investigation” had asked offensive questions to children residing in the ashram and that children were “mentally tortured and traumatized and his/her personal space and privacy was infringed on and their mental stature was disturbed”.
According to Turlapati, girl children (including minors) “were shown some morphed pornographic videos and photographs…” Turlapati also alleged that the children were “physically manhandled and bribed with chocolates and other eatable items and were emotionally blackmailed with a view to obtain desirable results from them.”
The private criminal complaint has sought registration of offences under the provisions of the POCSO Act, Information and Technology Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC). The police and CWC interrogation had taken place following a complaint by one Janardhana Sharma who had alleged that his children were kept in “illegal confinement” in the ashram.
On February 18, the additional district judge of Ahmedabad rural court had directed that necessary investigations be carried out pursuant to this complaint and electronic evidence to this effect be preserved, seeking a report of the police investigation within a month. Following the order, one of the accused police officers, Vivekanandnagar police station inspector R B Rana had moved an application before the court seeking a stay on the February 18 order. The same came to be rejected on March 4 on the ground that the court does not have the power or jurisdiction to decide on such an application.
Advocate Neel Lakhani, representing the complainant, said, “Statement of the complainant was recorded by the Deputy Superintendent of Police of SC/ST cell on March 6 and further investigation is underway. Since the officials of Vivekanandnagar police station are themselves accused in the case, the responsibility of investigation has been given to the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Ahmedabad Rural SC/ST cell.”
Other accused include Sanand Deputy Superintendent of Police K T Kamariya, three officials of CWC, including its chairman, district child security officers, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Ahmedabad Rural SH Sharda and Janardhana Sharma.