A senior Indian government official accused of raping his deceased friend’s teenage daughter over several months has been suspended from his post and detained for questioning after the allegations surfaced.
Premoday Khakha, a deputy director at the Women and Child Development department in national capital Delhi’s government, had taken over the 14-year-old girl’s informal guardianship after her father passed away in October 2020.
The senior official allegedly raped the girl on multiple occasions between November 2020 and January 2021, the Delhi police said. The teen survivor said she had also become pregnant.
She said, according to a police complaint, that she was still mourning her father’s death when the crimes occurred.
The Delhi government official was detained from his residence in northern Delhi’s Burari area on Monday. His wife has also been charged for being complicit as she allegedly helped the official in terminating the minor’s pregnancy.
When the teenager informed the accused’s wife, the woman threatened her and attempted the abortion at home, the police said in a statement.
The woman used her son’s help and asked him to buy medicines to abort the pregnancy and gave it to the minor, the police said.
This came to light after the girl, a Class 12 student, spoke about the incidents to a counsellor at St Stephen’s hospital in Delhi, where she was admitted for an anxiety attack this month.
“She has been under stress and tension. She also suffered panic attacks after the incident. During her treatment and mediation, the incidents came to light. The doctors have advised that the girl is not fit to give a statement,” said Sagar Singh Kalsi, deputy commissioner of police for North district.
The girl returned to her mother’s house in January 2021.
The Delhi government issued a statement on the matter, calling for the “sternest possible action” and said officials will wait for the law to take its course as the initial complaint has been filed.
“The Delhi government is sensitive in regard to such serious matters of women’s safety and child abuse. If he has committed any such reprehensible act, the sternest possible action should be taken against him,” the Delhi government said in a statement.
Swati Maliwal, chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), called the officer a “predator” and went on Monday to the hospital where the minor is reportedly admitted.
Ms Maliwal also began a sit-in protest outside the hospital as she said she was not allowed to meet the survivor by Delhi police officials.
“In Delhi, a government officer sitting on the post of deputy director in the Women and Child Development Department has been accused of sexually abusing a girl child. The police haven’t arrested him yet,” she said in a social media post.
“Issuing notice to Delhi Police. If the one whose job was to protect the daughters turns into a predator, then where will the girls go.”