Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editors: Prajjwal Kumar, Karuna Mishra
(Trigger warning: Mentions of child sexual abuse. Reader discretion advised.)
When he lost his friend during the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020, the deputy director of the Delhi government's Department of Women and Child Development offered to take care of the latter's then 15-year-old daughter.
The minor girl lived with his family for four months between 2020 and 2021.
On 21 August, the 50-year-old government officer was arrested for allegedly raping the minor during that period.
Eight days ago, on 13 August, North Delhi's Burari Police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the accused and booked him under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The officer's wife has also been arrested in connection with the case.
"The child is still in stress and trauma. She is under observation at the hospital. We are waiting for the doctors to give us a green signal after which the girl's statement will be recorded in front of a magistrate," DCP (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi told The Quint.
How did the incident come to light?
'Parents Were Family Friends'
As per the police, the survivor's family and the accused met around three years ago at a Church in Burari, which they would frequently visit.
The survivor's father was a government official and her mother is a teacher at a North Delhi school. She was her parents' only child.
DCP (North) Kalsi told The Quint, "When the girl lost her father, who was a government official, in October 2020, the accused offered to take her to his home, take care of her, and help her recover from the trauma."
The police said the survivor's mother agreed to the accused's offer immediately as they were family friends.
"After the death of the father, the child and mother were in a disturbed state. The mother agreed to seek help as she could not take care of the daughter after the death of her husband."DCP (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi
"The victim said she was assaulted over four months, from October 2020 to February 2021, while she was staying at the official's home in Burari," he added.
'Asked Mother To Take Her Home'
In 2021, when the girl found out that she was pregnant, she confided in the accused's wife, according to the police.
The wife asked their son to get abortion pills and terminated the minor's pregnancy at home, the survivor told police in her complaint in the FIR.
The police said that a few months later, the minor girl's mother visited her at the accused's residence. "The girl told her mother that she was not feeling well and asked to be taken home," DCP (North) Kalsi told The Quint.
The girl returned home with her mother, but the latter did not know about the pregnancy until much later.
'Victim Confides in Counsellor at Hospital'
Earlier this month, the girl began to experience "bouts of anxiety" which prompted her mother take her to the hospital, the Burari Police told The Quint.
"After extensive counselling, she confided in the doctors, counsellors, and police officers about the sexual abuse. She said she had terminated her pregnancy after receiving the abortion pills from the suspect's wife," said DCP Kalsi.
This was also the first time the survivor's mother came to know about the incident, the police added.
While the survivor is currently undergoing treatment, the police said they will record her statement before the court soon.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, 21 August, ordered the suspension of the official, AAP leader and Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said.