In a major embarrassment for the Rohtak police, the special investigating team (SIT) on Thursday arrested Bhim Singh Ranga, who was the investigating officer in the Apna Ghar shelter home torture and sexual abuse case till his retirement on June 30.
Retired sub-inspector Ranga, arrested under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, was the incharge of the Gandhi Camp police station, which covers Sri Nagar Colony, the locality in which Apna Ghar is located.
Sources said the police had also arrested Chand (who goes by one name), to whom Ranga allegedly gave main accused Jaswanti Devi's laptop after its seizure from the shelter home.
Haryana police spokesperson SAH Zaidi said Ranga was arrested on the charge of tampering with case evidence.
Zaidi said, "Following the May 9 raid at Apna Ghar by a team of officials from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the police recovered a laptop, a mobile phone, jewellery and other items from Jaswanti's possession. Ranga seized the items, but later returned the laptop and mobile phone. Clearly, he sided with the accused."
During the raid at Apna Ghar, the NCPCR team had unearthed incidents of torture, rape, bonded labour, child trafficking and sexual abuse. Incidentally, Ranga was found present at the shelter home when it was raided.
After the shelter home inmates accused police personnel of sexual harassment, Haryana director general of police (DGP) RS Dalal had constituted an SIT headed by MS Mann, additional director general of police (ADGP, law and order), to probe the case.
Talking to HT, Mann said, "On the basis of our investigation, Ranga and Chand have been arrested."
Eight persons have already been arrested in the case, namely Jaswanti, her daughter Simmi, son-in-law Jai Bhagwan, brother Jaswant, cousins Sheila, Neelam and Veena, and driver Satish. They have been remanded in judicial custody till July 13.
Rohtak superintendent of police Vivek Sharma refused to comment on the arrests. He claimed that Ranga was appointed investigating officer much before shelter home inmates alleged the involvement of police personnel.