Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday ordered stringent action against those involved in the sexual exploitation of a group of minor girls found outside a farmhouse in Bhopal early on Sunday morning.
Chouhan also instructed that the press accreditation of main accused Pyare Miyan, who owns a local Hindi newspaper, be cancelled. The government house allotted to Miyan under the press quota too has been revoked on the directives of the CM who reviewed the case in a meeting with police and home department officers on Monday.
Five girls were found in an inebriated condition by police in Ratibad area of Bhopal on Sunday. The minors later said that they went to a flat in Shahpura locality for a party. A probe revealed that the apartment used to host liquor parties frequently and these girls were sent there by Miyan who had hired four minors and an adult, Sweetie Vishwakarma.
On Sunday, police booked Pyare Miyan (68) and Sweetie Vishwakarma (21). They arrested Sweetie while the newspaper owner is on the run with a bounty of Rs 10,000 announced on him by authorities.
After finding the minor girls, aged 14 to 17, the police had handed them over to the charitable trust Childline which is counselling them.
Police learnt that Pyare Miyan and Sweetie Vishwakarma used to send these girls to parties where they were made to drink and dance. One of the girls alleged that the newspaper owner had raped her during a party.
Police suspect a sex racket. Sweetie has revealed names of some agents who helped her find and hire girls.
A communication from Bhopal police said that Pyare Miyan and his assistant had been booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Archana Sahay, director of Childline Bhopal, told News18 that Pyare Miyan also used to take minor girls to Indore on the pretext of cleaning his house there and then raped them. The man allegedly threatened to kill the girls if they spoke out, and also took care of their necessities and had provided them two-wheelers as well. The girls were offered drinks before they were sexually abused, said Sahay.
The maternal grandmother of one of the girls was a domestic help at Pyare Miyan’s home and used to accompany the child to Indore as well, but she did not raise an alarm as she purportedly kept getting money. Police said that the main accused is habitual of sexually exploiting minor girls.
The Hindi newspaper owned by Pyare Miyan has been running in Bhopal since 40 years and is among the oldest in the city.