AT A time when an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of inmates at the Deoria shelter home — conducted by a special investigation team (SIT) and monitored by the Allahabad High Court — is underway, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while speaking to news channel Times Now Monday said nothing had happened with the girls at the shelter and the then Deoria SP had wrongly compared it to the Muzaffarpur case. He also said that those involved in “character assassination” of the girls would face severe action if nothing is found during the probe.
“Deoria me bachchiyo ke saath kuch bhi nahi hua…high court swayam iski jaanch kar raha hai. Ab tak kuch bhi nahi aaya (Nothing happened to the girls in Deoria. High court is looking into the case and nothing has come out so far),” he said.
He added, “Pradesh sarkar ki do varishth mahila adhikari ne…ek additional chief secretary star ki aur ek ADG star ki mahila adhikari ko maine swayam jaanch team bana kar waha bheja tha. Uski jaanch report me kuch nahi aaya. Humne SIT gatith ki ADG crime ki adhyakshta me jisme do mahila adhikari thi. Usme kuch nahi aaya (I formed a two-member inquiry team of senior women officers and sent them. Nothing came out. We set up an SIT under the ADG (Crime) with two women officers. Nothing came out.”
The chief minister accused then Deoria SP Rohan P Kanay of “mishandling” the matter and said, “He conducted a midnight raid on August 5 without informing senior officers and brought the girls before the media while referring to the matter as Muzaffarpur – Part 2.”
Adityanath further claimed that then district magistrate Sujeet Kumar kept silent and did not act on the government’s directive to shift the inmates to other shelter homes after recognition of the Deoria shelter home was cancelled on charges of irregularities. He added that the police were sending the girls to the shelter home on court orders.
Both Kanay and Kumar had been transferred out of the district after the case came to light. Kanay has been attached to the DGP headquarters while Kumar was posted as member, board of revenue, Lucknow.
Case so far
ADG (Crime), Sanjay Singhal, who is heading the SIT investigating the case, said probe is still going on.
ADG Anju Gupta, who was part of the two-member women team sent to Deoria and accompanied Additional Chief Secretary Renuka Kumar, said, “We had submitted our report to the government. The CM had later spoken about it before the media. I cannot say anything more as the matter is in high court and an SIT investigation is going on.”
The police had conducted a late night raid at the shelter home on August 5 and claimed to have rescued 23 girl inmates.
An FIR was lodged against the owner Girija Tripathi, her husband Mohan Tripathi and daughter Kanchanlata Tripathi and others under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 354 (A) (sexual harassment), and other relevant sections of the IPC and the POCSO Act by Prabhat Kumar, the district probation officer. The FIR was lodged based on information of about harassment given by a 10-year-old girl inmate.
The three named accused were arrested soon after the case was lodged and sent to jail after produced in court. A chargesheet has not been filed in the case so far.
The Allahabad High Court took suo motu cognizance of the case on August 8. The matter is still pending in the court. It has fixed September 26 as the next date for hearing.
The former district probation officer of Deoria, Abhishek Pandey, was suspended and departmental inquiry against his successors Neeraj Kumar and Anoop Singh was ordered. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairman of Deoria, SK Yadav, was also suspended.