GUWAHATI: The Guwahati district and sessions court has convicted one Vikash Sahani and sentenced him to 7 years’ imprisonment under Section 4 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. A fine of Rs 50,000 was also slapped on the convict.
Sahani had raped a minor girl who was employed by Sahani’s father NK Sahani as a child labourer.
In August 2014, singer Zubeen Garg, while commuting within the city, saw that a girl was trying to get free from the clutches of a man near Red Cross in Chandmari.
Garg intervened and rescued the girl and a complaint was registered in Chandmari police station on the same night.
Police then informed the NGO Childline and the rescued girl was accordingly presented before the Child Welfare Commission (CWC).
CWC later sent the girl to a children’s home (Child Care Institution) in Guwahati.
In the children’s home, counselors found that the rescued girl had been sexually abused and raped.
The children’s home immediately lodged a complaint with the police.
Interestingly, the accused was not arrested and later he managed to secure bail. The accused, Vikash Sahani, was then a student in Delhi, according to sources.
On 21/07/2016, the case was referred to child rights activist, Miguel Das Queah by the Child Care Institution.
Queah said, “The case papers revealed that the FIR had been registered in August 2014 itself. Till 21/07/2016 no trial had begun.”
According to him, two years had already passed post the charge sheet and nothing had moved.
“As we took over the process, all the maladies of the system and the trickery of the offenders unraveled itself, one by one,” the child rights activist said, adding that from the disappearance of papers to threats on witnesses, the case only got murkier.
In 2016, the case was still in the court of the chief judicial magistrate and had not been transferred to the sessions court which is the concerned court dealing with cases related to children.
After UTSAH (the child rights NGO founded by Queah) started pursuing the case, it was transferred to the sessions court.
“The swanky defence lawyer of the accused smirked at us once outside the sessions court and told us to do whatever we wanted but his client would get away easily,” Miguel said.
“Finally the trial rolled out on 07/11/2016 and within one year and seven months, today, this crook has been finally convicted and sentenced,” said Queah.
It needs to be mentioned that Queah is also the government appointed support person for child sexual abuse cases for Kamrup (Metro) district.
Sources revealed that Sahani’s family is preparing to approach the Gauhati High Court to challenge the session court’s judgement.