Police probe if Delhi WCD official’s son also assaulted minor girl

By, New Delhi
Aug 29, 2023 12:33 AM IST

Khakha and his wife have been arrested, and he has also been suspended by the Delhi Women and Child Development department over the alleged rape of a minor.

The Delhi Police on Monday said that they were probing if the 21-year-old son of Delhi bureaucrat Premoday Khakha, arrested for allegedly raping, in 2020-21, a minor who was staying at his Burari residence, also raped the victim.

Premoday Khakha and his wife Seema Rani after being arrested by Delhi police. (HT Photo)
Premoday Khakha and his wife Seema Rani after being arrested by Delhi police. (HT Photo)

Dependra Pathak, the special commissioner of police (law and order, zone 1), said that as per the victim’s statement, Harsh Khakha, whom the victim used to call bhaiya (brother), also repeatedly sexually abused her in the three months she spent with the Khakhas — family friends who used to attend the same independent church, and with whom she decided to stay for a few months to overcome her depression after her father’s death.

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“The victim has informed us that she was also raped more than twice by Harsh during that span of time. He also bought a pregnancy test kit and abortion pills for the victim on his mother Seema Rani’s instruction after they came to know about the victim’s pregnancy. Based on this statement, we’ll soon interrogate Harsh, and if any corroborative evidence is found, he will be arrested,” he said.

If true, this fits in with Khakha’s defence that he could not have impregnated the victim because he had a vasectomy years ago. To be sure, the police have made him undergo a potency test, the results of which are awaited.

Khakha and his wife have been arrested and he has also been suspended by the Delhi Women and Child Development department where he used to work.

Pathak said the police are still collating evidence. “Since the victim was not in a good mental state for the last few months, we’ll again get her statements recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC,” he added.

The first statement of the victim before a magistrate was recorded last week, but due to her disturbed mental state, it could not be completed.

The police officer said they would seek police remand of Khakha and his wife and that there is no problem in interrogating either Harsh or his sister because both were majors when the incident happened.

Meanwhile, Delhi women and child development (WCD) minister Atishi on Saturday sought a detailed report on other complaints of sexual harassment against Khakha and the delay in acting against him, from the chief secretary. Her demand came a day after HT reported that at least four women had filed complaints of sexual harassment between 2018 and 2022 against Khakha.

People familiar with the matter said the chief secretary has responded and said that while the WCD department did receive four complaints against Khakha, there was no evidence against him and that, as a result, no action was initiated against him. HT has not seen a copy of the chief secretary’s response.

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    In his reporting career of over 20 years, Sanjeev K Jha has covered bureaucracy, politics, ISI activities in border areas, music and Bollywood. Presently, he covers crime in the national Capital.

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