Jamshedpur: The director of a children’s home, his wife who is also the chairperson of East Singhbhum district child welfare committee, and three other people have been booked for the sexual exploitation of two minor inmates, police said on Tuesday.
Jamshedpur assistant superintendent of police Kumar Gaurav said all five have been booked under various sections of Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and the Indian Penal Code.
The FIR has named Harpal Singh Thapar, director of Mother Teresa Welfare Trust, his wife Pushpa Rani Tirkey, caretaker Deepa Singh, her son Aditya Singh and his friend Tony Singh.
ASP Singh added that the survivors have recorded their statements under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the special Pocso court of an additional sessions judge.
The girls escaped from the children’s home on Saturday, following which Thapar went to the police to file a missing complaint. The police tracked down the girls through their cellphone numbers to a house in Birsanagar late Sunday night. The girls told the police that Thapar and the other men used to sexually harass them while Tirkey used to beat them up. They were students at a girls’ school who were sent to the home after the school closed during the lockdown.
Thapar and his wife called the charges motivated and said they were ready for a fair probe. Tirkey also submitted a memorandum to the police on Monday evening.
There was already a pending complaint against Thapar, his wife and a few others, filed by a woman who alleged that her husband, a panchayat ward member, was falsely implicated in a case of sexual harassment of a minor girl by Thapar and his wife and sent to jail. In her complaint to the Jamshedpur senior superintendent of police, the woman also alleged that Thapar and his associates were demanding ₹15 lakh to settle the matter.
Thapar’s shelter home made news for the wrong reasons on Monday too when a video showing girl inmates working in garbage dumps and other menial tasks went viral, forcing the district administration to take notice. A four-member team of the district labour department led by labour superintendent Avinash Thakur spoke with the children regarding this.