Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editors: Prajjwal Kumar, Karuna Mishra
(Trigger warning: Mentions of child sexual abuse. Reader discretion advised. The accused's name has been withheld in order to protect the identity of the minor.)
A former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister, a resource trainer on child protection, and the deputy director of Women and Child Development (WCD) Department of the Delhi government.
These were the portfolios held by a 51-year-old government official, who was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday, 21 August, for allegedly raping and his deceased friend's 17-year-old daughter several times between 2020 and 2021.
In her Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) statement, recorded in front of a magistrate on Monday, the survivor named the accused, whom she referred to as "mama."
The minor alleged that her "mama raped her several times over a period of four months", police sources confirmed to The Quint.
'In Service For Over 25 Years, Worked For Child Welfare'
Police officials told The Quint that the accused joined the Delhi government’s Women and Child Department (WCD) in 1998 as an cadre official, after completing his Masters in Social Work from the Delhi University (DU).
According to the accused's Linkedln profile, he has worked on implementing the child protection and child development schemes of the government over the last two decades.
At the time of his arrest, the accused was the Deputy Director – Litigation & Integrated Child Development Services. His LinkedIn profile mentions that he has been trained as a resource provider on child protection – the POCSO Act – an act under which he has been booked by the Delhi Police.
The now suspended officer also worked on multiple programmes relating to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of children in conflict with law, children who are in need of care and protection, and other similar schemes for ensuring child protection and development.
As per his social media profile, he was also a member of the drafting committee for the Juvenile Justice (CPC) Rules 2016, which are yet to be notified. The accused was also in-charge of the government's Observation Home for boys.
According to a Delhi government order dated 13 March 2022, the official was deployed as OSD to the then WCD Minister Kailash Gahlot. He was later relieved from his duties as OSD with effect from 10 March 2023, a day after Atishi took charge.
‘Accused Asked to Take Care of Minor’
The accused and his homemaker wife have two children. According to the police, the accused's family and survivor's family met at a mass commune in a church in North Delhi's Burari area and became close soon after.
The then class 10 survivor was enrolled at a private school in north Delhi. Her father, a friend of the accused, had died on 1 October, 2020, from a heart ailment, during the pandemic.
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."
According to Kalsi, both the mother and the survivor were "mentally disturbed" after the death of the father.
"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," he told The Quint.
In March 2021, the accused and minor's family travelled to Jharkhand for a family function. When the minor missed her period, she confided in the accused's wife, according to the police.
The wife asked their 21-year-old son, studying at a college in Delhi to get abortion pills, and terminated the minor's pregnancy at home, the survivor reportedly told in her statement.
The minor told her mother that she wanted to return home but never narrated her ordeal. The incident came to light when the child started suffering panic and anxiety attacks earlier this month.
"During her treatment and psyche evaluation, there was a pattern. All her statements and revelations were directed towards this mama and that’s how the family found out," police sources told The Quint.
Both the official and his wife have been sent to judicial custody.