PATNA: The Bihar government on Saturday formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged gang-rape of three nuns at gunpoint at an ashram in the southern Nawada district.
Ten men, including five sewadars (volunteers) of Sant Kutir Ashram, had allegedly raped the three nuns on the ashram premises on December 12 night by holding them at gunpoint, according to an FIR the three women lodged on January 4.
Four of the five accused named by the nuns are from Basti in Uttar Pradesh and one is from Madhya Pradesh. A medical examination of the women was conducted at a Nawada hospital and their statement was recorded at the district court on Friday. SP Vikas Barman said the medical report is awaited.
Magadh range DIG Vinay Kumar ordered the formation of an SIT, led by the SP, for a detailed probe and fast arrest of the accused. Raids conducted at various places after the FIR was lodged have failed to trace them.
The accused had threatened the three women with dire consequences if they told anyone about the gang-rape, which is why they kept silent for 23 days. The local villagers came to know of the incident and encouraged them to lodge an FIR, said a police official.
Sant Kutir Ashram is spread over an area of nearly two acres at Bahiyara village under Govindpur police station of the district. It was set up some seven years ago on land donated by a villager and has branches at several places in the country, including Delhi, Basti, Muradabad, and Chhattisgarh, said police.
The chief of the ashram, Paramahans Sachchidanand Maharaj, who used to visit the Nawada ashram once a month, has been absconding for nearly the past two months. He is also accused of raping a female disciple at the Basti ashram, said sources. A team of UP police had visited the Nawada ashram on December 17 last in connection with the case, said sources.