Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) Labour Commissioner R L Rishi, wanted in connection with the gangrape of a 21-year-old woman, and absconding for over a month, was arrested Monday by the A&N Police. Sources said Rishi arrived at Port Blair airport from Chennai following which he was arrested.
This is the third arrest in the Port Blair sex-for-job racket in which former A&N Chief Secretary Jitendra Narain is the key accused. While Narain was arrested by the A&N Police on November 10, hotel owner Sandeep Singh alias Rinku was arrested from Karnal in Haryana on November 14. Narain had earlier been denied bail and the A&N Police had announced a cash award for Rinku and Rishi.
On October 1, Narain and Rishi were named in the FIR filed at the Aberdeen police station in Port Blair based on the woman’s complaint. Both Narain and Rishi have since been suspended.
As first reported by The Indian Express on October 15, the woman had accused Narain and Rishi of sexual assault and gangrape at the Chief Secretary’s official residence, alleging that they had lured her with the promise of a government job. It was Rinku who introduced the woman to Rishi.
On October 28, The Indian Express had reported that the SIT had found evidence and recorded key witness statements pointing to an alleged job-for-sex racket, as part of which over 20 women are alleged to have been taken to Narain’s residence in Port Blair during his year-long tenure and some of them are said to have got jobs in lieu of being sexually exploited.
The woman’s complaint, accessed by The Indian Express, gives a detailed account of the violent sexual attack on her on two occasions in April and May at Narain’s official residence in Port Blair.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that in search of a job, she was introduced to the Labour Commissioner through a hotel owner and the Commissioner took her to the residence of the Chief Secretary.
There, she said, she was offered liquor which she refused and was assured government employment. Subsequently, she alleged, she was sexually abused by the two men.
Two weeks later, she alleged in the complaint, she was again called at 9 pm by them to the Chief Secretary’s residence and the assault was repeated. Instead of the promised government job, she said, she was threatened with dire consequences if she spoke about the matter to anyone.
Denying the charges, Narain, in letters to the Home Ministry and A&N administration, has alleged a “conspiracy” against him and claimed he has “specific materials which demonstrate the fake nature of the case.”
On November 14, The Indian Express reported that an audio clip, a key part of the evidence, purportedly features a phone call between Rinku and the woman with Rishi listening in. The woman has alleged that it was Rinku who had “picked” her and then introduced her to Rishi who in turn, accompanied her to the Chief Secretary’s residence.