Bhawanipatna, July 23 (LocalWire): The police on Monday arrested Saroj Das, the superintendent of a shelter home ‘Prayash’ in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on charges of sexually abusing an eight-year-old inmate.
The shelter home for HIV-infected children was set up in 2015 and the girl had been staying there since August 2016.
The girl’s mother, a native of Balangir district, had accused Das of sexually abusing her daughter and other inmates before a section of media two days ago.
According to Bhawanipatna police station’s inspector in charge (IIC) Satya Nanda, the accused was apprehended on the basis of a complaint lodged by the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
CWC chairperson Rajesh Nayak said the home has been sealed and all the nine inmates, including five girls, have been shifted to a temporary home in Bhawanipatna.
The girl’s mother had claimed that she was forced to take her daughter back to Balangir in March after the alleged sexual assault.
“The survivor’s mother stated that she had come to the shelter home on Shivaratri on 4 March this year and at that time her daughter told her about the sexual exploitation,” IIC Nanda said, adding that the mother went back home, but came back on March 25 to the institution and pleaded with the child welfare committee to allow her to take her daughter home.
The police, however, has noted that no complaint was made by the girl’s mother at that time, Nanda said.
Das has denied the allegation, saying it was an attempt to defame the shelter home.
The Kalahandi district administration had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of the media reports and directed the Bhawanipatna police on Sunday to get the statements of the survivor and her mother recorded.
According to reports, the mother and daughter were brought in after midnight around 12.30 am on Monday, and their statements were recorded in front of the special judgement police unit (SJPU), after which they were produced them before the Kalahandi CWC.