Bharat Express

Odisha Police Inspector Faces Sexual Assault Charges; NHRC Directs Investigation After 4.5 Yrs

Almost four and a half years after a female sub-inspector from the Odisha police reported being sexually assaulted by a police inspector.

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Bhubaneshwar: Almost four and a half years after a female sub-inspector from the Odisha police reported being sexually assaulted by a police inspector in Ganjam district, authorities have registered a case against the accused following directives from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said the officials familiar with the situation on Friday.

A high-ranking police official from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Odisha police has initiated legal proceedings for sexual assault against Inspector Ramesh Pradhan, currently stationed at the Phiringia police station in Kandhamal district.

An investigation has been launched into the complaint filed by a female sub-inspector who served under Pradhan during his tenure as an inspector at the Pattapur police station in Ganjam in 2019. The sub-inspector, now stationed at a police station within the Bhubaneswar Commissionerate Police, alleges that Pradhan sexually assaulted her at his official residence on June 27, 2019, according to her complaint.

Police disclosed that similar incidents occurred on two separate occasions. Despite the sub-inspector filing a complaint with the then Ganjam superintendent of police (SP), no initial information was recorded. Subsequently, the woman approached the office of the chief minister, prompting an investigation by the additional SP of Ganjam and other senior officials.

The sub-inspector claimed that she faced pressure from her senior officials to withdraw her complaint, leading her to approach the National Human Rights Commission in 2020. Following her complaint, the NHRC directed its investigation division to conduct a probe. Last month, the NHRC instructed the Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) to order the registration of a fresh FIR based on the woman SI’s complaint.

The NHRC specified that the investigation should be conducted by a female officer with the rank of deputy SP or above. In compliance with NHRC orders, the DGP met with the woman SI, addressing departmental issues such as salary concerns, promotions, and family security to ensure swift justice.

Additionally, the NHRC has directed the DGP to initiate an inquiry into the SI’s allegations against an SP, accused of demanding she construct a tennis court at his residence and other issues during her posting in Boudh district.

Over the past few years, multiple police officials in Odisha have faced accusations of sexual assault. In October of last year, an assistant sub-inspector in Jamda, Mayurbhanj district, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl employed as domestic help in his residence.

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