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Know about the Church that connected the Delhi official, who worked for the Delhi women and child department, and the minor he raped

The two families initially came into contact in 1998 while attending Sunday services at the Amazing Grace Church in Shahdara, East Delhi. However, they connected stronger over several similarities in lifestyle. Both families belonged to Ranchi in Jharkhand and they both adhered to the Lutheran Church.

On Monday, August 21, the Delhi Police arrested a senior Delhi government officer named Premoday Khakha (51) for raping a minor girl for over three months in Delhi’s Burari region. The police also arrested the wife of Khakha who served the minor girl with pills to curb unwanted pregnancy. The accused is a Christian and shared ties with the family of the victim girl that established and developed in a church in north Delhi’s Burari region.

The 17-year-old minor girl complained against Khakha and his wife Seema Rani that the two assaulted her for three months during her stay at their place between October 2020 and April 2021. The victim girl said that Khakha who served as deputy director in Delhi’s women and child department (WCD) raped her multiple times and his wife forced her to have abortion pills.

According to the reports, following the death of the father of the girl in October 2022, Khakha, who the girl referred to as “mama” brought the child to his Burari residence. The victim’s mother, who had known the family for many years, thought her daughter would grow stronger under Khakha’s supervision, and spending time in their house would help her get over the loss.

The families trusted each other 

The two families initially came into contact in 1998 while attending Sunday services at the Amazing Grace Church in Shahdara, East Delhi. However, they connected stronger over several similarities in lifestyle. Both families belonged to Ranchi in Jharkhand and they both adhered to the Lutheran Church.

When they relocated to Delhi, they explored a Lutheran church and found Amazing Grace Church instead, which was established in 1992 by Ajit Kumar Horo, a Ranchi resident, at his home in Bihari Colony in Shahdara.

After having himself given up looking for a Lutheran prayer place in the Capital, Horo is said to have formed the church.

The small, close-knit church has been around for more than 30 years, but even after moving twice—from Shahdara to Mukherjee Nagar in 2002 and again to Burari in 2015—it only has 30 families as members. The church today operates from a two-story building in Himgiri Enclave residential colony.

Khakha, after the allegations by the 17-year-old girl, was suspended from his position in the government and was later arrested by the police. The members associated with the church revealed to the Hindustan Times that the girl and her mother had not visited the church and that the two families shared good relations with each other for the past 25-30 years.

The victim girl is admitted to a hospital in Delhi and is being treated for frequent panic attacks. The church members including Horo stated that it is hard to believe that Khakha has sexually assaulted the girl.

Interestingly, it has come to the fore that the senior government officer has assaulted three other women at his workplace. Several complaints had also been filed against Khakha but no action against him was taken given his position in the WCD department. OpIndia has access to a letter dated February 23, 2019, sent by the Delhi High Court to the WCD department of Delhi, which states that the department has not responded in the case against Khakha despite seeking a response.

Notice from Delhi High Court against Khakha ignored by WCD department

In the year 2019, Premoday Khakha was the superintendent of ‘The Observation Home for Boys, Sewa Kutir Complex’ under falls under the supervision of the WCD Department. In the notice, the Joint Registrar of the Delhi High Court had written to the Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Government of Delhi, that despite sending a letter on July 5, 2019, and reminding again on January 10, 2019, no reply had been given by the department. The complaint was filed by Anil Kumar Kalia, president of Child Survivor India.

It was also informed in the same letter that a similar complaint had been sent to the Juvenile Justice Secretariat by Clinical Psychologist Abhilasha Dwivedi, posted at Kingsway Camp, Sewa Kutir Complex. The ‘Juvenile Justice Committee’ had sought a reply from the department within 10 days. A copy of this letter was also sent to Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Not only this, a complaint was also lodged against the official and financial irregularities for the year 2019-19 in ‘Boys-II, Sewa Kutir, Kingsway Camp’. Welfare Officer Brijkishore Pandey had lodged the said complaint and in this regard also the Joint Registrar of Delhi High Court had sought a response from the department. A letter in this regard was sent on May 13, 2019, followed by a reminder letter on July 26, 2019. The third letter was sent on August 27, 2019, which can be read below:

Letter by Joint Registrar

In one such letter which was sent on March 7, 2019, it has been mentioned that the case had been closed due to no response from the complainant Anil Kumar Kalia. It also noted that the complaint of Abhilasha Dwivedi was in relation to the violation of the rights of the children in the ‘Observation Home’. Along with this, Khakha was also accused of assault by several women at the workplace. The letter sent by the Joint Registrar of the Delhi High Court on March 5, 2019, is also serious as it affirms the allegation of sexual abuse of children in the Boys’ Home. The complaints had also been recognized by the Juvenile Justice Committee which had sought urgent attention in the case.

The DWCD was tasked by the Juvenile Justice Committee to act on this matter within a day and transfer the previous Superintendent while the investigation was ongoing. Additionally, it was ordered that he not be sent to any children’s homes. He was also forbidden from being moved to a location where he could sway the probe, according to the directive. The department was further obligated to submit a report on the work done so far by March 6, 2019, in addition to the other requests. The letter is accessible here:

Letter obtained by OpIndia

In the same vein, it was also requested to reopen the investigation into Premoday Khakha in a letter dated May 16, 2019. The Delhi High Court’s “Juvenile Justice Secretariat” also forwarded this letter. Additionally, the investigation’s preliminary report was sought. This demonstrates that the department was not sincere about the issue despite obtaining multiple complaints. It also demonstrates Premoday Khakha’s power. On Independence Day (August 15) of 2019, it is said that he raised the flag at “Seva Kutir” in Mukherjee Nagar despite several complaints and FIRs.

Thus, it is apparent that Premoday Khakha is a dishonest officer even though the minister referred to him as his OSD despite the numerous accusations made against him. Even the seniors were disregarded in the decision to promote him to deputy director. Both allegations—sexual abuse of children in daycare facilities and professional harassment of women—are grave. However, the AAP government did nothing. He is now being accused of raping a minor girl. The concern now is, will earlier victims’ complaint files be reviewed now given that this issue has again come to light?

NCPCR takes cognizance, suspects the role of the church

The 17-year-old girl, in the current case, returned to her mother in January 2021. The incident is said to have come to the fore only after the girl started getting severe panic attacks. She revealed that she was given anti-pregnancy pills after being raped by Khakha.

NCPCR Chief Priyank Kanoongo has taken cognizance of the event and has suspected the involvement of the church in the episode. The girl was 14 when the incident happened. Now she is 17 years old and is studying in class 12.

Social media reveals that Premoday Khakha is a staunch Christian. In a Facebook post, he wrote, “I would have no hope if I were not aware that someone had paid for all my deeds by sacrificing on the cross.”

The church founder and pastor, Horo meanwhile has stated that the ‘religious place’ has 16 CCTV cameras installed and no such crime has taken place within the church premise. Horo also added that he was unaware of the trauma that the minor girl was put through. “We have video footage of the past few days. If required, we will give the footage to the police,” he was quoted as saying.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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