Police, district admn slammed in Banda rape report to HC

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Allahabad, Jan 31 (PTI) In a damning report to theAllahabad High Court, rights group People''s Union for CivilLiberties (PUCL) has come down heavily on the police anddistrict administration of Banda where a girl was allegedlyraped by a ruling BSP MLA and later implicated in a falsetheft case.

The girl was "subjected to barbaric physical andsexual assault", the PUCL has observed in its report submittedtoday before the court, which had authorised the rights groupto send a delegation to Banda, 219 kms from state capitalLucknow, and record its findings.

The police tried to sweep the matter under the carpet"under pressure from the MLA and as per the orders of thedistrict police chief" by arresting the girl on theft chargesand sending her to jail.

A specially-constituted bench comprising JusticeImtiyaz Murtaza and Justice Sudhir Agrawal had on January 18last taken suo motu cognisance of the entire episode andauthorised the PUCL to "assist the court" by sending itstwo-member team to Banda and submit a report on its findingsthereafter.

The eight-page report, which has recommended "transferof the trial from the Sessions Court at Banda to a competentcourt in Allahabad", has made a scathing attack on the thenSuperintendent of Police of Banda, charging him with having"illegally entered the jail", while the rape victim wasincarcerated. It said he "tried to put pressure on the girl toretract her allegations of rape by offering her money andissuing threats".

The report has claimed that the SP had visited thejail without obtaining due permission from the Sessions Courtand stayed inside the premises well past 6:45 PM which was "inviolation of the jail manual".

On Janury 13, BSP MLA Purshottam Dwivedi was arrestedin Banda a month after he allegedly raped the 17-year-olddalit girl. The 48-year-old MLA, who was suspended by the BSP,and three other co-accused were chargesheeted in the case.

The report has said, "the District Magistrate toofailed to exercise the powers vested in him with regard to theunauthorised jail visit of the SP and a perusal of the entireepisode leads to the conclusion that he had, throughout, triedto save the accused MLA".

The report, which has been prepared jointly by PUCLorganising secretary Vandana Mishra and High Court advocateDeeba Siddiqui has recommended "strong disciplinary actionagainst the SP and the DM" besides "punishment to all thepolice officials who had, instead of carrying out theirduties, tried to protect the accused".

Further, the report has called for "adequate security"to the victim and her family members.

Meanwhile, the High Court has fixed February 18 as thenext date of hearing in the matter and directed the governmentcounsel to apprise the court of the orders passed so far bythe Supreme Court, which has taken cognisance of the matter.

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