Apna Ghar: CBI court docket convicts 9 for sexual exploitation in Rohtak shelter

CHANDIGARH: A special CBI court Panchkula on Wednesday convicted nine people for being involved in the of destitute girls who were inmates at Rohtak’s . Those convicted included , the woman who ran the home. The sentence would be announced on April 24.
The was one of the most disturbing instances of sexual exploitation in the country where both women and minor girls were not only raped inside the but were also videotaped and photographed by the perpetrators of the crime. Besides, the inmates were being forced to work as labourers at construction sites and farms. Initial investigations had revealed that some of the girls were even being forced into prostitution.

It was only after the Apna Ghar rocked the country that state commissions for protection of child rights were constituted in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

It was in early 2012 that three girls had escaped from the shelter and reached Delhi to inform authorities about their exploitation. Most of them were from poor backgrounds and had been abandoned by their families. On May 9 2012, the National Commission for Protection of Child Right (NCPCR) had raided the shelter and found that the inmates were being exploited. At that time there were more than 100 inmates, mostly young girls, in the shelter.

In August 2012, CBI had charged seven accused for rape, forcible abortion, conspiracy, criminal assault, forcing a person to indulge in labour unlawfully and criminal intimidation. In September 2013, the agency had submitted a supplementary charge sheet in which Roshni, Ram Prakash Saini and Angrez Kaur were booked. As many as 121 witnesses from CBI and 26 defence witnesses were examined during the trial.

Besides Jaswanti, her brother Jaswant, daughter Simmi, cousin Sheila, son-in-law Jai Bhagwan, driver Satish, counsellor Veena, a counselor Roshni and Ram Prakash Saini were also convicted. One of the accused, Angrez Kaur Hooda who was the local child development and protection officer, was acquitted because of lack of evidence.

A CBI investigation had revealed that Jaswanti was running NGO Bharat Vikas Sangh. While Jai Bhagwan and Satish were exploiting the inmates, they were being aided by Jaswanti, Sushma alias Simi and other accused.

While Jaswanti, Jaswant, Satish and Jai Bhagwan are in jail, all others are out on bail. The counsel for the accused, Vishal Garg Narwana, said that they would challenge the decision before high court as scientific evidence was in their favour.

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