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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Sports officer roams free despite alleged rape of trainee

Sharad Deep , Hindustan Times  Lucknow, September 09, 2013
First Published: 01:15 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 03:52 IST(9/9/2013)

A shocking case of a teenaged player being allegedly raped and sexually harassed by the sports officer of the state government-run kabaddi hostel for girls in Agra three years ago has come to light, with a fellow inmate of the assaulted girl lodging a written complaint with the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav.

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The incident, which allegedly forced five girls to quit the hostel in 2010, including the victim, came to light in March this year when one of the girls, who claims to be an eyewitness, mustered the courage to file a complaint against the sports officer, Ajay Sethi.

A two-page complaint and the videotape of the witness narrating the sequence of events are in possession of the Hindustan Times, where she has detailed the sexual assault on her roommate.

"We saw the victim (name has been withheld) naked and crying when we came back from the ground after the morning workout. She told us that Sethi sir has raped her. On that day, the victim had stayed back in her room as she was not well," said the eyewitness.

"The victim also said she was threatened when she tried to raise her voice… She told me that Sethi raped her next day as well. We all were shell-shocked and all five of us left the hostel on April 24, 2010, after informing one Mukesh in writing," the eyewitness said.

The girls were aged between 15-16 when they came to the hostel in 2008.

The eyewitness is seen appealing in the videotape that, "A person like (Sethi) should be hanged and such people should not be allowed to live in the society."

A relative of one of the five girls in Malakpur (Baghpat) conceded that he had withdrawn his niece from the hostel as the "girls were treated badly".

The brother of another girl from Badhalganj (Deoria) said that his sister was in a state of shock when she came back from the hostel in 2010.

"Initially, we didn't know the reason behind her leaving the hostel. But when we came to know about the incident, we were shocked," he said.

No action has been taken till now and the father of the eyewitness claims he was coerced into accepting a bribe to force his daughter to withdraw the complaint.

"My daughter withdrew the complaint after we were offered Rs. 2 lakh," said the father, adding, "I have been given only Rs. 10,000. I have no job and I have to take care of a big family, so I accepted the offer of Rs. 2 lakh. Our complaint, as it is, had fallen on deaf ears," the witnesses' father told HT.

Sethi, who is now the sports officer at Bulandshahr, refuted the charges.

"It's a conspiracy… I never did anything wrong with the girls," he said.

"Three out of five girls had given written applications to leave the hostel claiming they had better facilities back home.

"The girl, who is claiming to be the eyewitness, was removed from the hostel as she wasn't up to the mark."

A former Samajwadi Party MLA, Anurag Shukla, also submitted a written complaint against Sethi to the chief minister in August.

The director (sports) UP, Shailesh Kumar Singh, when contacted, expressed his ignorance.

"I have joined the department only two months back. We will take stern action against Sethi if he is found guilty. It's a serious issue.

"If required, I will involve some high-level investigative agency as it's a big issue and a thorough inquiry is required," he added.

Sports and youth welfare minister, Narad Rai, said he had come to know about the incident at a meeting in New Delhi.

"I will order an enquiry soon and the guilty will be punished," said Rai.

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