Shelter case: HC gives Centre a week to decide on CBI probe

The Haryana government had about a month back recommended a CBI probe into the allegations of sexual abuse and torture, of the inmates of the `Apna Ghar` shelter home in Rohtak.

Updated: Jul 12, 2012, 00:40 AM IST

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave a week`s time to the Centre to take a decision on Haryana government`s recommendation for a CBI probe into the Rohtak shelter home incident.

If the Union Home Ministry fails to take a decision on the issue, the Bench may direct a CBI probe, the High Court said while pulling up the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for slow progress of investigation.

The High Court`s direction came during the resumed hearing on a PIL filed by local advocate Utsav Bains.

The Haryana government had about a month back recommended a CBI probe into the allegations of sexual abuse and torture, including by police personnel, of the inmates of the `Apna Ghar` shelter home in Rohtak, which was run by an NGO.

The four advocates` committee, appointed recently by the High Court here, apprehended that if the CBI does not take over the case, evidence may be destroyed.

The committee submitted that the head of now-sealed Apna Ghar, Jaswanti Devi, was an influential person with links among political and police brass.

Recommending forensic examination of cameras, mobile phones and laptops of Jaswanti and other accused Devi and other members, the committee maintained that Jaswanti`s high connections could be gauged from the video recording of her daughter`s marriage in January.

They, however, ruled that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed earlier to look into the matter, had failed to obtain the CD or marriage photographs.

The SIT, which was pulled up by the court, maintained that it had got only two or three photographs of the marriage and informed the High Court that two laptop and a mobile phone of Jaswanti Devi had been sent for forensic investigation.

The SIT, which submitted a report in a sealed cover, also informed the court that call details of Jaswanti were being probed. However, the bench expressed its displeasure on slow pace of investigation in the case.

The court also directed Haryana`s Women and Child
Development Department to formulate rehabilitation plans for the inmates of Apna Ghar who have been sent to different shelter homes in the state and asked the department`s secretary to inform the court about the steps taken.

Utsav Bains submitted before the Court that little effort had been taken to suitably rehabilitate the inmates.

The next hearing in the case will be held on July 19, the date fixed for the Centre to convey its decision on CBI probe.

Inmates of the Rohtak shelter home were allegedly subjected to sexual abuse, physical and mental exploitation and used as bonded labour.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Right had rescued nearly 120 people, including children and women, from the house after carrying out a surprise raid on May 9.
The case had triggered a public outcry.