A Bihar RTI activist has been running from pillar to post, saying his minor son was framed and shown as an adult by police who arrested him five months ago and charged him in an Arms Act case with two others. His son has been in Buxar jail ever since. The RTI activist, who complained to the state DGP before the lockdown over the pandemic, said his 14-year-old son, after appearing for one of the papers of the Class X examinations on February 29, hitched a ride with two men, from his village, on a motorcycle which was stopped by police in the Rajpur area of Buxar.
The police claimed they recovered a country-made pistol from the activist’s son and a live cartridge each from the two men. All three were arrested and sent to Buxar jail. While the men were released on bail later, his son, the activist says, is still behind bars. He says his son secured an overall of 83 per cent marks in the five papers he took before his arrest – he still had one paper to take. The boy, according to his school records, was born in April 2006. The activist, who has been fighting corruption at the local level, alleged his son was framed by the very people he was trying to unmask, and that they were in league with the local police.
He said over the last five years he had filed several RTI applications to uncover alleged irregularities in the Bihar government’s flagship scheme, Saat Nischay (on village roads, sanitation and drinking water), MNREGA and paddy procurement by the Primary Agriculture Credit Society (PACS) under the Cooperative Department.
“My son was framed because I had sought paddy procurement details… How can police declare my minor son an adult? Can anyone believe the police story of a boy returning from an examination centre with a pistol?” he said.
One of his RTI applications into a road project led to a Vigilance probe. He also uncovered a case of children holding MNREGA job cards. “Local panchayat functionaries framed me in a SC/ST Act case seven months ago, but I was given a clean chit. They then hatched a conspiracy to trap my innocent son,” he said.
Lalan Pandey, the lawyer who has been approached by the activist, said: “We were not able to take up the matter because of the constant lockdown and closure of court. The local police did nothing to rectify the mistake of declaring the boy an adult. We have approached the Juvenile Justice Board and will be submitting a letter from the school stating his correct date of birth.”
Police have no explanation why or how the Class X student was declared an adult and sent to jail. Rajpur police station ASI Mahesh Prasad Singh, complainant in the case, told The Indian Express: “I have little role to play in this. I did what I was asked to do”. Rajpur police station in-charge Ranjit Kumar
When his comments were sought, Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey said: “We have taken serious note of the Rajpur case. We are getting it thoroughly investigated. I had referred the matter to the Buxar SP when the boy’s father had approached me before the lockdown. I am seeking an update.”
Buxar SP Upendra Nath Verma told The Indian Express: “I have asked the local police station to look into the matter of how a minor was shown as an adult and the circumstances in which a teenaged boy is facing a case. I am also going to meet the boy’s father.”
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