Eighteen days have passed since a minor girl engaged as a domestic help had lodged an FIR accusing an Assam MLA Gopi Nath Das of raping her, but the police have not been able to find any trace of the opposition MLA. A week ago, the girl’s parents have lodged another FIR, this saying they were kidnapped and forced to sign on some blank papers.
“We have raided and searched several places, but have not been able to track him down. Four other persons have been arrested. One of them had helped the accused in kidnapping the girl and her parents after they had filed the first FIR, while the three others are the MLA’s brothers-in-law who allegedly forced them to sign on blank papers with the lure of money,” Indrani Barua, SP of Kamrup district said on Thursday.
While the illiterate girl – who was sent to the MLA’s house by a local panchayat president called Pushpalata Biswas – had accused MLA Das of raping her on August 29, the second FIR filed on September 17 said some persons close to the MLA had kidnapped her and her parents two days after lodging the first FIR on September 6. The police are also looking for Pushpalata Biswas.
The girl and her parents, who hail from village Jogipara under Boko police station in Kamrup district, about 120 kms west of Guwahati, were put into a car, kept in a house in another village on September 8, and then taken to Guwahati early next morning, where they were forced to sign on some blank papers, the second FIR said.
Of the four arrested so far, one Shyamlal Barman who, along with a few others, were engaged by the MLA to kidnap the girl and her parents two days after the first FIR. All four have been booked under Sections 447, 506, 365, 348, 420 and 120(B) of the IPC, SP Barua said. Police are still looking for two others, Phalo Sarkar and Arup Baishya, who had helped Barman kidnap the girl and her parents.
“The girl’s mother on September 17 filed an FIR saying the girl and her parents were forcibly taken away by some persons from their village home on the night of September 8, kept in a house in another village for the night, and then driven to Guwahati where they were asked to withdraw the FIR of September 6, and made to sign on some blank papers with the promise that they would be given a handsome amount of money,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express on Thursday.
Interestingly, while the girl and her parents were taken to Guwahati by some persons close to the MLA on September 9, where they were made to sign on some blank papers, MLA Das had on September 14 moved a bail petition in the Gauhati High Court, along with which he had also submitted two separate affidavits said to have been signed by the parents. According to the affidavits, the girl’s parents had “admitted” that they were “allured” with money and “tutored” by some political opponents of MLA Das to level the rape allegation against him.
“While the High Court asked the police to carry out an investigation on the affidavits, the girl’s mother has clearly mentioned in the September 17 FIR that they were made to sign on blank papers after they were taken to Guwahati on September 9. The FIR also mentions that the girl’s parents were intimidated and promised a good sum of money if they withdrew the case or compromised,” the police officer said.
In Guwahati they were taken to a house believed to be that of a relative of the MLA, where they were intimidated and forced to sign (thumb impression) on several blank papers, which are believed to be converted into affidavits that the MLA submitted before the Gauhati High Court on September 14.
Two police officers, Sub-Inspector Bhaben Chandra Nath, officer in-charge of Nagarbera PS, and Amiya Goswami, in-charge of Mandira OP meanwhile have been closed to reserve for negligence of duty.