Newspaper owner Pyare Miyan, who was on the run ever since he was accused of rape by four minor girls in Bhopal, has been arrested from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
A team of Madhya Pradesh police is on way to Srinagar to take custody of the 68-year-old owner of Afkar daily who carried a reward of Rs 30,000 on his head.
On Sunday, the 68-year-old abandoned his Pajero at Ashta, located between Bhopal and Indore, and went into hiding, hours after a group of minor girls, who were apparently lost, were found by police in a disoriented condition on the city outskirts. Identifying himself as their grandfather, Miyan went to the police station and tried to bribe the inspector, but backed off after the latter insisted on seeing their parents.
After his disappearance, the police on Tuesday broke open the lock of his flat in posh Shyamla hills area in the state capital. They were struck by its interiors. The flat resembled a dance bar with expensive liquor bottles. The police stumbled upon child pornography, sex toys and antlers among other things. An Audi was later recovered.
SP (South) Sai Krishna Thota told The Indian Express that Miyan had travelled to the UK, Switzerland and Thailand with minors girls in the last few years. The ostensible purpose of some of those foreign visits was treatment of his illnesses. He passed off other trips as business-related travel.
From dealing in property to running a newspaper from a government property, Miyan dabbled in many trades. He owns several properties in Bhopal and Indore.
The district administration on Monday brought down a wedding hall built illegally by him in the old city. An adjacent flat was demolished on Tuesday. An illegal construction adjacent to the Shyamla Hills flat was also removed the same day.
So far, the government has stripped him of his much sought-after state-level accreditation card and issued orders to cancel the allotment of a government quarters in Professors’ Colony from where he ran his office.
Afkar, the daily that Miyan brought out, is like many other newspapers printed in Bhopal. It exists solely for the government advertisements. But more than the advertisements, the dailies provide their owners direct access to politicians, the police and bureaucrats.
There is speculation that those in power had a quid pro quo relationship with Miyan for years. The police have so far maintained that the victims have not named any one in position of authority.
A SIT has been constituted to probe deeper into his activities following allegations that he used to extend loans to parents in financial distress and exploit their daughters. In some cases he told parents that he would find a job for their minor daughters.
Archana Sahay of Childline said Miyan would take the minors to his different properties, including those in Indore, on the pretext of cleaning them. The grandmother of one of the victims was an alleged accomplice. She said the 55-year-old grandmother’s presence ensured that people did not doubt Miyan. Sahay, who counseled the victims, said some are so young that they did not even realise that they were being exploited.
The police had taken into custody a 21-year-old female accomplice on Sunday because she was with the group of minor girls. She later claimed that she herself was a victim. The grandmother, a driver and a manager were arrested on Tuesday.
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