Pune: A senior IAS officer, arrested on the charges of raping four minor girl students, was sent to police custody till March 30 by a magistrate here on Friday.
In a separate action, the Maharashtra government suspended the officer, Maruti H Sawant, Director-General, Maharashtra Council of Agricultural Education & Research (MCAER), Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said in Mumbai Friday evening.
According to police, Sawant was nabbed from his home and late Thursday booked under laws pertaining to rape and molestation of at least four minor girls aged between 8-10 years recently.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the victims include two minor girls studying in Class 2 and one each in Class 3 and Class 7, who were lured by Sawant with chocolates, sweets and Rs.15 over the past couple of months.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sudhakar Pathare told media that the police are recording the individual statements of each victim whom he lured with offers of food to his building basement and then sexually assaulted them.
Sawant is being interrogated to ascertain whether there are any more victims of his sordid acts, committed in the Hingne-Kurd area of the city.
The matter came to light recently when the girls complained to their municipal school counsellor, who in turn informed the principal.
The principal brought it to the notice of a local municipal corporator Shrikant Jagtap of Sinhagad area, who finally alerted the police on Thursday.
Besides Indian Penal Code sections, Sawant has also been changed under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Pathare said.
Sawant, 58, a promotee IAS officer of 1998 batch is due for retirement in the next few months and has earlier held senior postings in social welfare, agriculture and sports departments.