Rape victim allegedly raped by police officer handling her case

A 13-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by four people, was raped again by the Station House Officer (SHO) of a police station in Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh, where she had gone to file a case, officials said on Wednesday.

The accused police officer, Tilakdhari Saroj, was later arrested near the Allahabad High Court, Additional Director-General of Police (Kanpur) Bhanu Bhaskar said.

Twenty-nine policemen who were at the police station when the alleged rape took place have also been suspended, NDTV reported.

The state government has asked the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Jhansi) Joginder Kumar to conduct an inquiry and submit a report in 24 hours.

In his complaint to the police, the girl's father alleged that four men - Chandan, Raj Bhan, Mahendra Chaurasia and Hari Shankar-lured his daughter and took her to Bhopal, in the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh, on April 22 and sexually assaulted her over three days.

The men then took her back to her village in Lalitpur district on April 26 before leaving her outside the police station and fleeing.

Saroj then handed the girl over to her aunt without sending the girl for a medical examination or informing her mother, who had lodged a missing person complaint with the police on April 23.

The officer also asked the aunt to bring the girl back to the police station on April 27 for her statement to be recorded.

On April 27, the girl was taken to Saroj's room, where she was allegedly raped again, before she was handed over to her aunt.

On April 30, the police called the victim and gave her custody to NGO Childline. It was during one of the sessions with the NGO's counsellor that the girl disclosed all that she had been through.

The counsellor informed the district child welfare officer, who in turn informed Superintendent of Police (Lalitpur) Nikhil Pathak about the sequence of events.

Lalitpur police said they have charged Saroj with rape under the stringent POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

The girl's aunt has also been named as an accused.

"The SHO is suspended and he is a named criminal," said SP Pathak.

"An NGO (Childline) brought the girl to my office. She had given them the details.

"After I was informed of what happened, I ensured that a case was filed."

After his arrest, Saroj told reporters that he was innocent and that a proper investigation should be carried out by an independent agency.

"I did not run but surrendered myself to the police," he claimed.

Five of the accused who were named by the victim were also arrested on Wednesday.

Chandan, Raj Bhan and the girl's aunt were arrested in Lalitpur, while Hari Shankar and Mahendra Chaurasia were arrested in Madhya Pradesh, said ADGP Bhaskar.

Reports about what the girl had to endure has led to outrage in India, with netizens expressing anger on social media.

Indo-Asian News Service

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