Woman DSP rank officer to probe Gaighat shelter home case: Patna HC

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The Patna High Court on Friday directed the district police to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by woman DSP rank officer to investigate Gaighat shelter home sexual assault case.

The direction was given by a bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol.

Prosecution lawyer Meenu Kumari said: “We are not satisfied with the approach of Patna police. The officials of the women police station applied pressure on two victims.

“We have pointed out the approach of Patna police as well. The officials of the women police station initially want to club two complaints to register one FIR which we have objected to. We have pointed out that the grievances and circumstances of both the victims could be different. Hence how could it be possible to register one FIR. The court has admitted our point.”

The Bihar government counsel told the court that two FIRs have been registered against Vandana Gupta, the Superintendent of Gaighat shelter home, Patna.

Patna police on Tuesday registered the first FIR on the complaint of an inmate who is a resident of Bakhtiyarpur. She alleged sexual assault and forcibly giving drugs to inmates.

Following her complaint, an FIR was registered against Gupta in the women police station. Kishori Sahchari, the SHO of women police station, also appointed SI-rank officer named Lushi Kumari as the investigating officer of the case.

“Since, the approach of Lushi Kumari was not appropriate toward the victims, we have informed the Chief Justice of the High Court,” Meenu Kumari said.

“The court has directed Patna police to appoint a DSP-rank officer who has clean image and is soft spoken by nature. The health of the victims is weak and they were given drugs forcibly inside the shelter home,” she said.

The incident of Gaighat shelter home incident came to light on January 30 when a girl, who was released from it, alleged that Gupta used to inject sedatives or force inmates to consume tablets. Following that, the inmates went unconscious and were raped.

The victim alleged that she underwent such an ugly situation several times while staying in the shelter home. Gupta used to invite men inside the women’s shelter home as well, she also alleged

The first victim, a native of Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, in a complaint to Patna police alleged: “I was a victim of sexual assault for many times inside the shelter home. The Superintendent of the shelter home used to invite youths inside the premises who target girl inmates in unconscious or semi unconscious stages. I realised sexual assault had been committed many times when I woke up in the morning. Several inmates have the same story.”

Following the charge, the Social Welfare Department had given a clean chit to Vandana Gupta and declared that the victim is a mentally unstable person. As the Patna High Court had taken cognisance of the matter, the Department changed its decision and recorded the statement of the first victim.

“The district administration of Patna played negligent attitude in this matter. The District Magistrate, the SSP and other senior officers tried every possible way to suppress the voice of the victim. The Social Welfare Department had given clean chit to accused Superintendent without any investigation,” said Veena Manavi, convener of a Patna-based NGO Mahila Vikas Manch.

Patna police did not register an FIR on the application given by the first victim 10 days ago, and it was registered finally on Thursday.

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