Over 20 women were allegedly taken to the Port Blair residence of former Chief Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) Islands, Jitendra Narain during his year-long tenure, with some of them getting jobs in lieu of being sexually exploited, probe into the explosive ‘job-for-sex’ racket has revealed.
The lid was blown off the racket after a 21-year-old woman accused Narain and Labour Commissioner RL Rishi of gang rape and sexual assault. The woman, in her complaint, had said that she was introduced to Rishi via a hotel owner when she was searching for a job. She alleged that the commissioner took her to the residence of the Chief Secretary where she was offered alcohol but she declined and was then assured government employment. Subsequently, she alleged, she was brutally and sexually abused by the two men, the Indian Express (IE) had reported.
The woman added that the assault was repeated two weeks later and instead of the job, she was threatened to not disclose the attack to anyone.
In an exclusive scoop, The Indian Express reported that Call Data Records (CDRs) and cell phone tower locations of mobile phones of the two suspended bureaucrats and of the 21-year-old “match” the alleged sequence of events, as provided by the woman.
IE also got confirmation from its sources that the hard disk of the digital video recorder of the CCTV camera at the Chief Secretary’s house was first erased and, subsequently, it was removed at the time of his transfer from Port Blair to Delhi in July.
On his part, Narain has denied the charges in letters to the Home Ministry and A&N administration, calling it a “conspiracy” against him and claiming that he has “specific materials which demonstrate the fake nature of the case”.
He has also challenged his presence in Port Blair on one of the two dates given in the FIR and cited air tickets and appointment schedules to show his presence in New Delhi.
In a counter, the woman’s family reportedly told the police that there was a mix-up in the dates provided by her and their testimonies have cleared the air.
A day after The Indian Express reported on the allegations, Narain was suspended on orders of the Home Ministry on October 17 and has got interim bail until November 14. Rishi has also been suspended and non-bailable warrants have been issued in his name after his bail plea was rejected in Port Blair.
Testimonies from key witnesses, including the Chief Secretary’s staff, have revealed that women were escorted to his house. One of them has reportedly told the SIT formed to probe the racket that he would be instructed to “pick up the women,” often pick up food from a local restaurant, serve it at the Chief Secretary’s house and later be asked to drop the women off at a pre-destined place, IE reported.
The woman’s family, meanwhile, said they were planning to move the Supreme Court for cancellation of the former Chief Secretary’s interim bail, granted by the Calcutta High Court.
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