Patna care home superintendent held for allowing ‘sexual exploitation’ of girls
The superintendent of Gai Ghaat remand home was questioned for hours on Saturday at the women’s police station in Bihar’s Capital, Patna. She was produced before the court and was later sent to judicial custody
Superintendent of a Patna-based government care institution was arrested and sent to judicial custody on Saturday for allegedly allowing “sexual exploitation and mental torture” of the girls at the remand home located at Gai Ghaat in Bihar’s Capital city.
The superintendent, Vandana Gupta, was questioned on Saturday for hours at the women’s police station in the city and after the interrogation she was produced before the court and was later sent to judicial custody.
The cases against her werelodged under the Sections 354 A and 450 of the Indian Penal Code. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police had been investigating the case for the last six months, collecting evidence related to the charges made against the remand home superintendent and got her arrested on Saturday.
In January this year, an inmate of the Gai Ghat remand home managed to escape and tried to lodge complaints against the remand home superintendent, but was refused. Later, another inmate from the home also made serious charges against the home superintendent. But their complaints got registered at women police stations only when the Patna high court took suo motto cognizance of the case on February 3 this year.
“Vandana Gupta has been arrested and sent to jail in connection with the charges of rape and the ITPA (Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act), 1956. We have enough evidence related to the allegations levelled against her,” Kamya Mishra, the chief investigating officer, said.
The investigation is still going on and more charges against the superintendent are expected in the coming days, she added. “In case the girls (who have alleged sexual harassment) are found to be from SC (Scheduled Caste) or ST (Scheduled Tribe), there will be another charge,” she said. But she is not yet charge sheeted, she added. “We will file a charge-sheet within a week,” she said.
Meanwhile, SIT has found evidence of corruption also , added Kamya Mishra. “She will be charged of corruption also. We will soon be submitting the report related to corruption to the vigilance department,” she said.
Minu Kumar, the advocate who has been handling the case of remand home girls, said the girls had been waiting for months for their voices to be heard.
“Both the girls alleged that the girls at Gai Ghat remand home were being forced for sexual exploitation and those who refused were injected to lose consciousness and also beaten. The girl who first dared to talk about the wrong doings at Gai Ghat remand home in the state capital in January this year had alleged that the superintendent used to allow boys at the home. She also alleged that the superintendent also used to send home girls outside in the name of job and forced them to be sexually exploited,” Minu Kumar said.
“This girl landed at the Gai Ghat remand home nearly four years ago in connection with a case and claimed that she was promised a job at an NGO at Muzaffarpur, but once there, she found herself exposed to people who wanted to sexually exploit her,” Minu Kumar added.
“The other girl of Gai Ghaat remand home also alleged that girls were pressurized for sexual relationships. She also confirmed that girls were sent out for sexual exploitation,” she said.
The matter was almost dismissed in January this year when the social welfare department formed an inquiry team which questioned the home inmates on various points. “In the final report submitted by the enquiry team, the remand home superintendent was given a clean chit and the girls who tried to get out the internal issues at the remand home were declared as mentally unstable and were alleged of lying, provoking and quarrelling with other inmates and creating nuisance,” Minu Kumar said.
The Patna high court took suo motto cognizance of the case on February 3. The social welfare department was snubbed for making observations only on the basis of video footage. Later, the police set up the SIT to handle the case, she added.
“SIT had been trying to collect evidence related to the charges made against the superintendent and finally got her arrested,” she said.
Anita Kumari, a social activist from the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) said that many women organisations raised their voices against the alleged sexual exploitation of girls at Gai Ghat remand home. “This incident will pave the way for justice for the girls,” she said.