A 13-year-old girl who went to a police station to report that she had been gang raped was then raped again by the police officer she reported it to, authorities say.
The police officer, Station House Officer Tilakdhari Saroj, was later arrested after being caught on the run in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where the crime is alleged to have taken place.
The father of the girl alleged to police that four men had lured his daughter away to the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh on April 22 where they raped her over the space of four days.
The men then brought the girl back to her village in the Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh (UP) before fleeing.
According to the report filed by police, the girl went to the police station the following day to make a statement accompanied by her aunt. Saroj then took the girl into a room and raped her in front of the aunt, the report says.
Lalitpur district police chief Nikhil Pathak told reporters that the NGO Childline brought the girl to his office after she told them what she them her story.
‘The SHO is suspended and he is a named criminal so we have formed teams to arrest him,’ he said. ‘After I was informed of it, I ensured that a case was filed.’
Saroj has been charged under the stringent POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act brought in in 2012 which could see him face life in prison if convicted.
According to ANI UP/Uttarakhand Saroj is quoted as saying: ‘Investigative agencies should be called in to conduct the probe into the matter with utter honesty.
‘After the investigation, if it’s proven I’m guilty then…I am 100% innocent.’
Pathak added that six people were named in the case and four had been arrested, including Saroj, and all officers serving in the police station have been removed.
The case has caused predictable outrage in the state of Uttar Pradesh and across India itself.