Dhenkanal, Dec 18:
The principal of Saikrupa Residential Plus Two College, Kunjakanta Tushar Mohanty, was arrested on charges of abetting sexual harassment of girl students of the college, police said on Tuesday.
Addressing media persons here, Manas Ranjan Gadnayak, IIC of Town police station, said the chairman of the college, the main accused in the case, will be arrested soon. However, Mohanty managed to secure bail from a local court, Gadnayak said.
Police swung into action following an FIR at the Town police station filed by the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Anuradha Goswami on Monday night over the alleged sexual torture of girl student boarders of the Sai Krupa Residential Plus Two College at Kunjakanta here by its chairman Annada Prasad Mohanty.
Goswami lodged the FIR after conducting an inquiry into the incident. Her findings have shocked one and all in this district headquarters town.
Town police have registered case no. 298/2013 under sections 341,323,294,354(A), 34 of IPC and 8 and 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) basing on the DCPO’s startling FIR and is investigating the matter, police sources said.
Some girl students of the residential college were being allegedly subjected to sexual torture and exploitation by none other than the chairman of the college Annada Prasad Mohanty over a period of time, sources said. Mohanty allegedly used to invite them to isolated places and then subjected them to sexual exploitation, the sources added.
The aggrieved students had reported the matter to the college Principal Tushar Mohanty on several occasions but instead of taking any action to restrain the chairman, the principal allegedly used to beat up the complainants instead.
Director DRDA, Surendra Prasad Das, who was present at the press meet, said the district administration and the police had taken the matter seriously and assured that appropriate steps would be taken keeping in mind the future of the students.
IIC Gadnayak said he has reports that the girl students were forced to watch obscene pictures on mobile handsets by the chairman.
Sub collector Anil Kumar Patnaik, tehsildar Satrughna Kar and DCPO Anuradha Goswami were also present at the press meet.
It may be mentioned that boarders of the girls’ hostel of the college made frantic calls to their friends and classmates on December 14 saying they had been locked up in the hostel by the college authorities. After getting the calls, a group of boy students of the same college, who were staying in a nearby hostel, rushed to rescue their co-students but were allegedly stopped and severely thrashed by the relatives of the college chairman.
After the incident was reported in the media, district administration officials and police held discussions with the girl students on the matter on December 15.
Some girl students have told the DCPO that the chairman of the college had been sexually exploiting them for a long time and some employees of the college assisted the chairman in his escapades. The college was closed for five days after the matter came to light.
The DCPO has submitted a report in this regard to the district collector basing on the statements of the girl students on Monday. The DCPO it is learnt to have recommended action against the college in her report to the district collector and the principal secretary Higher Education department.
While the future of the college remains uncertain, the accused chairman is on the run.