None of the alleged victims of a junior government engineer posted in Chitrakoot who is accused of sexual exploitation of minors and selling pornographic material online has come forward to lodge a complaint. With the CBI seeking more time to present its case, a POCSO court in Bandra refused to give Ram Bhawan Singh’s custody to the agency on Thursday.
The CBI handed over a sealed letter with reportedly the names of more than a dozen alleged victims of Singh, 41, who has been suspended from his post in the Irrigation Department. According to officials, Singh may have exploited more than 50 boys and girls, between the ages of 5 and 16. The next hearing will be on November 24.
Additional District Government Counsel (Criminal), Banda, Manoj Dixit, one of the lawyers handling the case, said, “The CBI has recovered 10 mobile phones and two laptops, and around four pen drives, six memory cards, along with sex toys and videography equipment (from Singh’s home). In these gadgets the investigative agency has found 65 videos and 610 photos, which were sold on the dark web.”
Dixit said some documents related to the case diary were not available, leading to the court denying CBI’s request for remand.
CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said they would know more about the victims and Singh’s modus operandi after they got his custody. So far, the CBI claims to have gathered that the alleged victims belonged to poor families, and that Singh lured them with money or by promising to let them use gadgets.
Singh’s counsel Anurag Singh Patel said the only case that might hold in court against him is under the IT Act as the CBI had failed to produce a single alleged victim.
Singh had been posted in Hamirpur, Banda and Chitrakoot districts for the past two decades. Sources in the Irrigation Department said he was to be transferred from Chitrakoot this year but this was postponed due to Covid. While Singh is married, he and his wife have no children. She left their rented two-room house soon after his arrest.
Their landlady, a government teacher, said she had never noticed any suspicious activities and believed the charges against Singh were fake.
Reluctant to talk about the case, Singh’s neighbours said he was a polite, well-mannered man who kept to himself and the charges had come as a shock. A neighbour said Singh would leave for work around 9 am and come back late in the evening.
Singh has been booked under Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the IT Act.
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