Taking a serious note of the charges of rape and trafficking of two girls, one of them a minor, the High Court came down heavily on the state government Wednesday and asked the police to immediately trace the girls who went “missing” after being rescued. The court also expressed shock that among the policemen investigating the case were men who had abused the minor. The girls have been missing for six months.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere has directed the Advocate General to appear in the case. The Commissioner of Police, Pune, has also been asked to appoint a senior officer above the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police in the matter.
“Two FIRs have been filed. The allegations are of very serious nature. In one case the supplementary statement makes serious allegations against police officers who are carrying out investigations. The more serious aspect of the matter is that the whereabouts of the girls is no longer known,” said Justice More. The police have been asked to trace them immediately.
According to a petition filed by Anuja Kapur, an advocate appearing in-person, she came across the girls at a television studio last year after they had managed to escape from Pune where they had been trafficked. Based on the girls’ complaints, FIRs were filed in two separate police stations in Pune in April last year. Their custody was then handed over to the child welfare committee. The girls were staying in Delhi but have been untraceable since the last six months. The petition seeks a probe by the CBI into the matter besides tracing the girls and providing compensation to them.
According to the petitioner, the minor victim aged 15 belonged to Nepal and was lured to India with the promise of a job in a beauty parlour. The other girl wanted to be a model, Kapur informed the court. “This is an organised crime. I want CBI to look into the matter as the minor victims recognised the police officers who were her clients,” said Kapur.
“How could the investigating officer named in the supplementary statement be investigating the case? How is it their business to be part of the investigations?” questioned the court. “We want you to trace them immediately. If there are allegations against officers what efforts must they be making to trace them?” said Justice More. Justice Dere pointed out one of the victims’ statements was in Marathi even though she had specified she was not conversant in Marathi. The police had claimed they had explained the contents in Hindi. The matter will now be heard on March 30.