The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Pune Police to trace a 24-year-old Delhi-based model and a 16-year-old Nepalese girl who were allegedly raped and forced into prostitution in Pune.
According to a Times of India report, the Nepalese girl had alleged that she was sexually assaulted by over 100 men, including police officers.
“The allegations are of a very serious nature and we are concerned about the whereabouts of the victims. Make sincere efforts to trace them,” a division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Revati Dere said.
The court’s order came while hearing a petition by Delhi-based advocate Anuja Kapur, who sought the transfer of the case to the CBI saying that the two survivors have been untraceable for over six months.
Advocate Kapur told the court that the two might have been eliminated as the accused, which include cops, are people of influence.
The Bombay HC slammed the state after finding that the two police officers who had been named in the girl’s complaint were also present in court to instruct the prosecutor, whereas the probe office had not come to the court.
“When (the officers') names are mentioned in the statements of the victims, they have no business to instruct the prosecutor. There are serious allegations against police officers who are carrying on with the investigations,” said Justice Dere.
The court then ordered the Pune Police Commissioner to depute a senior officer above the rank of DCP to be present on the next date on hearing on March 31.
The case of a Delhi model being raped in Pune came to light when she was admitted to a hospital in Delhi with burn injuries in March 2016.
She revealed that she met one Rohit Bhandari (the main accused in her case and also that of a Nepalese girl) on social media and came to Pune after he promised her acting offers. However, when she refused to get intimate with him, she was burnt with cigarette butts and gangraped by him and others.
At Rohit’s flat in Pune, she met the other victim, who was brought from Nepal in 2014, on the promise of a job at a beauty parlour. The Nepalese girl was then sexually assaulted for over two years and was taken to several cities where was raped by several men.
The two somehow managed to escape from the flat and reached Delhi, where the model lived. On March 23, 2016, a zero FIR was lodged in Delhi. The case was then transferred to Vimantal police station in Pune. The police arrested Bhandari (35), Swikriti Kharel (26), Harish Shaha (25), Tapendra Sahi (23), and Ramesh Thakula (25).
Advocate Kapur told the court that they have not contacted her for over six months. In April 2016, the Delhi Child Welfare Committee had released the Nepalese girl into the custody of the model.