BHOPAL: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has made damning observations about the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe and prosecution in a case pertaining to the alleged sexual abuse of six minors girls by an influential newspaper owner Pyare Miyan in Bhopal.
A detailed report summing up the findings of NCPCR's continued enquiry into various aspects of the July 2020 case and also the death of one of the girls at the Children Home in Bhopal in January 2021, has been sent by the Commission to the MP Chief Minister, state's chief secretary, state's additional chief secretary (home) and the state's DGP last week only for action, the NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said on Wednesday.
The report makes observations about the SIT/Prosecution in the case and related aspects, particularly deputy SP (DySP) level officer Umesh Tiwari, who is an important part of both the SITs -- the one probing the July 2020 case pertaining to alleged sexual abuse of the minors by the influential newspaper owner and the other SIT, which is probing matter pertaining to the death of one of those girls at the Children Home in Bhopal in January 2021.
The report states, "The role of DySP Umesh Tiwari was found to be suspicious by the NCPCR team and thus it's recommended that his role must also be looked into with respect to deliberate procrastination of the case by pursuing the matter with the prosecution. It was observed by the NCPCR team that Tiwari isn't familiar and acquainted with the basic provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Tiwari admitted to having visited the Children Home in police uniform while conducting an inquiry in the matter. Therefore it's recommended that he may be replaced from both the SITs on an immediate basis. Tiwari also needs to be sensitized in regard to the POCSO Act 2012 and the JJ Act 2015."
The Commission in its report stated that the MP DGP is required to furnish a compliance report with regard to the observations and recommendations of the Commission's team pertaining to Tiwari within 15 days.
Further, the Commission's report states, "Even if the investigation is completed in time, the role of a police officer(s), who might have favoured or have tried to provide an advantage to the alleged accused by various means must be noted seriously, since this is a serious issue and they should not be spared to favour the person with the paedophilic tendency."
The CCTV footage of January 15, 2021 of the Children Home was found to be missing, this fact again raises suspicion in respect to the role of the Children Home in the incident, which also must be taken into consideration during inquiry. "The access of the poisonous material which led to the death of the minor girl can't be ignored and needs to be investigated.
The report further states, "The Commission is of the view that challan in all the matters should have been filed before the POCSO Act Cases Court, as has also been laid by the MP High Court in a case. Thus it is recommended that this fact should be brought to the notice of the Court and the matter should be transferred to the POCSO Act Court. In the charge-sheet filed so far in the case, it has been observed that the appropriate provisions of POCSO Act have not been incorporated."
The 22-page report further mentions, "As noted that the minor girls were working as domestic help at the alleged accused's place, this fact invokes violation of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 and it is observed by the Commission's team that this fact has been gravely overlooked by the police/SIT/Department of Women and Child Development/Administration. It is recommended that an FIR in this regard be lodged under relevant sections of CLPRA 1986 and Section 77 of JJ Act 2015 against the alleged accused and his family members, since they engaged these minors for domestic work at their home."
Meanwhile, despite efforts by The New Indian Express, the state's DGP Vivek Jauhri couldn't be contacted for his version on the action taken on the NCPCR report. In July 2020, Pyare Miyan, an influential owner of Bhopal-based newspaper and aides were arrested for alleged sexual abuse of the six minor girls in Bhopal. While his aides were arrested from MP, prime accused Pyare Miyan, was arrested from Kashmir.
The six minors were subsequently housed at the Children Home in Bhopal, where in January 2021, two of the minors were rushed to hospital for suspected overdose of sleeping pills/poisonous substance. One of the girls died two days later at government-operated Hamidia Hospital.