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Girl trafficked to 3 states, raped over years; Jharkhand cops still hunt for accused

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 29-11-2022 Abhishek Angad
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A police team from Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district has gone to Chhattisgarh to arrest a political leader in a rape and POCSO case registered in the district in 2019, police said on Tuesday.

According to the police, this is the fifth time that a team is visiting the neighbouring state to nab the accused political leader — he was found “absconding” on each previous occasion.

The case relates to rape and gangrape of the girl, who was 15 when the case was registered in 2019 — a victim of sex trafficking, she was sexually assaulted by multiple accused in multiple locations across at least four states, according to records.

Court records say she was raped in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, and back again in East Singhbhum district.

Details of investigation from police records show the minor had a diary, which contained names and numbers of some of the alleged accused, and in which she used to draw a line for each person who allegedly raped her; and she would later count the numbers. The case was registered in 2019 when a hotel owner in East Singhbhum informed police when she was brought to the hotel for the crime.

Police have invoked IPC Sections 366A (inducement of any minor girl, forced or otherwise, to illicit intercourse), 370 (trafficking), 376(3) (rape with a minor), 376(D) (gang rape), among others, besides POCSO and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Acts.

Senior Superintendent of Police, East Singhbhum, Prabhat Kumar said: “This is not the first time police have gone to Chhattisgarh to arrest (the accused persons). We have arrested five out of 10 accused and have filed a charge sheet against them. The remaining five, including a political party leader, will be arrested soon.”

Asked about the delay in arrest of all the accused men, SSP Kumar said, “It is an ongoing investigation.... We could not arrest the political leader earlier (in Chhattisgarh), but we will arrest him soon.”

Police said although the political leader is an accused, whether he committed rape is part of the investigation.

According to records, the political leader was not named in the original FIR registered in 2019. Police had added his name in the charge sheet filed subsequently. Trial in court began on May 20 this year.

According to court records, the minor, then nine years old, was first raped in 2013, allegedly by a relative. Her relatives allegedly put her at work at a clothes shop in East Singhbhum, where another person raped her.

She was subsequently taken to Chhattisgarh capital Raipur by train and was kept at a flat, where eight men raped her, the records state.

Later, in 2019, the court records state, she was brought back to East Singhbhum district and taken to the house of “one police personnel”. The court document states, “...4-5 police personnel made physical relations with her…and (for the next few days) 2-4 (different) persons every day (committed) wrong acts with her.”

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