Bhubaneswar: The Crime Branch of Odisha Police on Monday arrested four persons in connection with the alleged gang rape of a minor girl in Bhubaneswar.
According to sources, those rounded up include two security guards and an equal number of employees belonging to OTV against whom the minor girl's mother had lodged a complaint. All four of them were reportedly picked up by CB officials from their homes late last night.
The minor girl who stays in Infocity area of the capital city had alleged that she was sexually violated on repeated occasions by these men and some police personnel during the lockdown period between April and May this year.
Ever since the matter has come to the fore, OTV has been extending full cooperation to police in the probe. In spite of that, the arrests were made in the middle of the night without any evidence. OTV MD had also appeared before the Women Commission and Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) in connection with the case probe.
However, the police personnel accused in raping the minor girl are yet to appear despite summons. Even more surprising is the fact that their names are yet to be disclosed by the probe agency, sources said.
Bhubaneswar 'gang rape' case: OTV has been extending full cooperation to police in the probe. The arrests were made late last night without any evidence. OTV MD had also appeared before Women Commission. However, accused police personnel are yet to appear despite summons #Odisha pic.twitter.com/t4IjFownu4
— OTV (@otvnews) December 14, 2020
With the sudden arrests, questions are now being raised whether by such mid-night action the government is trying to shift the attention from the Nayagarh Pari murder case, and the rising public outrage over missing minor girls in the State.
Senior lawyer Pitambara Acharya has termed the arrest of OTV employees as selective prosecution.
Bhubaneswar 'gang rape' case: Condemning the action of CB, senior Congress leader Sura Routray says, "This is injustice and just a publicity stunt. Why only OTV staff were arrested, & not the police personnel accused in the case? This case needs a proper investigation." #Odisha pic.twitter.com/EyxK0iepbE
— OTV (@otvnews) December 14, 2020
Worthwhile to mention, in the Bhubaneswar minor girl case, several mismatches have been found in the statements made by the victim and those by her mother who is the complainant in the case, and the same was acknowledged by the Director General Of Police (DGP) last month in an affidavit while submitting the status report on the case before the Orissa HC.
Disclosing the DGP's statements in the affidavit, advocate Gopal Prasad Jena who is representing the petitioners, the Odisha Bikash Parishad, in the High Court had stated, "The DGP had virtually appeared before the Court. In his affidavit, he has mentioned that there are no consistencies in the statements of the girl and others recorded as per the provisions under Section 161 and Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The investigation is facing hurdles as there are no consistencies in the statements of the victim. Moreover, the accused (who have been named in the FIR) had undergone Polygraph tests and no noteworthy deviations were observed in their statements."
Reportedly, the case was taken over by Crime Branch on October 6 and as per a directive of the Orissa High Court, an SP-rank officer is in charge of the investigation.
The agency in its affidavit to the Orissa High Court had mentioned that all the concerned documents in the case along with the necessary information ferreted out from mobile phones of the accused have been received. Moreover, police have recorded the statements of the victim and the complainant, it added.