BHUBANESWAR: A day after taking up investigation into the alleged gang-rape of a minor girl inside Biramitrapur police station in Sundargarh district recently, the state Crime Branch arrested the police station’s former inspector-in-charge (IIC) Ananda Majhi on Wednesday.
Majhi, who had allegedly subjected the 13-year-old tribal girl to sexual assault in police station and forced her to undergo abortion, reportedly holed up in a mango orchard in Angul district.
Majhi’s arrest came hours after the state director general of police Abhay dismissed the former from the service and tendered apology to the rape survivor for the ‘tainted’ cop’s shameful misconduct. “I am glad that the Crime Branch swiftly arrested the dismissed IIC, whose shameful conduct caused embarrassment for us. Our apologies to the rape survivor,” Abhay said.
Crime Branch said it was a tough task to arrest Majhi, who was on the run since the registration of the alleged gang-rape case against him and five other persons on June 22. “He used his police brain to evade arrest. But we outwitted him. He was traced to a mango forest in Handapa police area in Angul district,” a Crime Branch officer said. The officer, however, did not disclose much about their operation of tracing the elusive Majhi.
Additional director general of police (Crime Branch) Soumendra Priyadarshi said Majhi was the main accused in the case. “We will bring him on remand for questioning, if required. Other accused involved in the case will also be arrested,” Priyadarshi said.
Majhi, another unidentified officer of Biramitrapur police station, the rape survivor’s step father and two local youth were accused of gang-raping the 13-year-old tribal girl for several weeks between March and June. Case was also registered against a government doctor for allegedly abetting the alleged offence and conducting forceful abortion of the girl’s foetus.
The matter came to the light after the minor, who was seen crying outside the police station a few days ago, was rescued by a local NGO and later handed over to the child welfare committee (CWC) in Sundargarh. The girl told the CWC that she had come to Biramitrapur to watch a local fair a few days before lockdown in March. While she was waiting to catch an auto-rickshaw to return her home, which was around 22 km from the fair site, the Biramitrapur police patrolling van spotted her and took her to the police station where Majhi allegedly raped her. She alleged that the local police dropped her in her village. But Majhi often allegedly called her to the police station and sexually assaulted her.
A dismissed constable was arrested in Puri in December last year for allegedly gang-raping a woman in police colony while an assistant-sub inspector (ASI) was arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Balanga area in Puri in January this year. A few cops were suspended in Bhubaneswar on charges of misconduct to women in recent past.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)