After media reports suggested that there was political pressure to go slow on Brajesh Kumar Pandey – Bihar Congress leader and brother of NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar – now the public prosecutor handling the case has claimed that the minor Dalit girl, who had accused Brajesh Kumar of molesting her, was being harassed by the police through frequent questioning.
Special public prosecutor in the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court, Suresh Chandra Prasad made this startling allegation after a CID officer claimed that the victim girl was not being consistent in her statements.
“The police, instead of harassing her by questioning time and again, should go behind Pandey and other accused against whom there are enough evidence showing their involvement in the case,” the public prosecutor is quoted as saying by the Times of India.
It should be noted that the victim was a minor when she was molested and sexually exploited in January last year. Even though the victim is daughter of a former state minister, she had claimed that she had to face difficulties in getting the FIR filed against the accused as they were well-connected.
“My FIR was not lodged for three-four days despite approaching the police. It was later registered at the SC/ST police station (on December 22 last year),” the victim had earlier revealed.
Now it appears that the same police, which was reluctant to register an FIR, is now questioning the victim repeatedly and claiming that her various statements are not consistent. Activists and experts have often claimed that repeated and suggestive questions are used as a ploy to elicit inconsistent responses.
The public prosecutor also feels that instead of investing further time in repeated questioning of the victim, police should focus on evidences and try to nail the accused – Brajesh Kumar and Nikhil Priyadarshi, a well-connected businessman – both are accused of running a sex racket that has ruined lives of many women, including minor girls.
Brajesh Kumar has been maintaining that he was innocent and his only crime was knowing Nikhil Priyadarshi, while the victim girl claims that Brajesh was actively involved in the crime and in running the sex-racket. She claims that she was molested by Ravish Kumar’s brother after she was given sedatives in a drink at Nikhil’s place.
After Brajesh Kumar accused the victim of implicating him at the behest of BJP, the victim had released photographs that show her with Nikhil and Brajesh, disputing Brajesh’s claim that he didn’t know her. Some reports claim that mobile phone location data confirm that all three – the victim, Brajesh Kumar, and Nikhil Priyadarshi – were at the same place many times.
However, instead of acting further on such evidences and information to nail the culprits, the police is repeatedly questioning the victim, the public prosecutor claims. This has led people to wonder if the political pressure to spare Ravish Kumar’s brother has started to show impact.
As per latest reports, the bail application of Nikhil Priyadarshi has been rejected but he remains absconding. Reports say that he has been changing phone numbers and locations and was thought to be in Shimla last, where a political leader is reported to have met him. The aforementioned report doesn’t identify the leader.