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Rajpura SOS children’s village row: Whistleblower booked for ‘pressurising’ govt officials

The RTI activist along with the maternal aunt of one of the inmates, courted controversy as the two kept the children in their custody instead of informing the police who traced them late in the evening on September 12.

punjab Updated: Sep 17, 2018 09:17 IST
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Rajpura SOS children’s village,SOS children’s village,child abuse
(Picture courtesy: SOS Children’s Village Rajpura websit)

Less than a week after five minor inmates, including two girls, fled from SOS children’s village at Rajpura of Patiala district, police on Sunday booked an RTI activist, said to be the whistleblower in the case, for allegedly misbehaving with and pressurising the district child protection department officials.

After fleeing the shelter home, the inmates had alleged ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, only to retract their statements a day later before the district child protection officer.

The RTI activist, Akash Verma, along with the maternal aunt of one of the inmates, courted controversy as the two kept the children in their custody instead of informing the police who traced them late in the evening on September 12.

Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu said the case was registered against Akash under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the complaint of district child protection officer Harpreet Kaur Sandhu.

In her complaint, Kaur said Akash barged into her office and started making a video when they were recording the inmates’ statements.

“When the staff asked him to leave office, he started misbehaving with them. He also rummaged through the official files kept on the table without permission and interfered in our working,” a complaint reads.

On the basis of the complaint, the SSP asked SP Kesar Singh to investigate the matter and seek legal opinion before registering an FIR.

“The case was registered on the basis of SP’s inquiry. The police will probe whether he instigated the children to give such statements,” SSP said.

Akash Verma denied pressurising anyone at any point of time, claiming that he was being framed in the case.

First Published: Sep 16, 2018 20:28 IST