Chairman of the Bangalore school where a six-year old girl was allegedly raped, evoking public outrage and triggering protests, has been arrested.
Rustom Kerawalla, chairman of VibgyorHigh School, was arrested under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Bangalore Police Commissioner M N Reddi said. If proven guilty, Kerawalla, the chairman of the school, will face a rigorous jail term of 4 years.
Police have invoked section 201 of IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) against Kerawalla, M N Reddi said. In addition to this, he also faces a host of charges, which include destruction of evidence, a major offence under the Indian Penal Code.
Reddi said Kerawalla was arrested in Daman and brought to Bangalore on Wednesday morning. He would be produced before court within 24 hours and they would seek police custody to pursue the investigation further.
This is the second arrest after that of Mustafa, skating instructor as the main accused, on Sunday. The delay in nabbing the culprits and taking action against the school management had evoked widespread criticism, leading to protests in the city and elsewhere in the last one week.
The incident had happened on July 2 and the complaint was lodged on July 14, while the first arrest came six days later.
Countering charges that there was a delay in arrests, he said, “Arrests are always done on time and pronto. We always do things pronto. That is an assumptive question and you are asking me there is a delay -- there is no delay. I am saying there is no delay.”
The main accused was sacked at a school earlier for “gross misconduct” with girls, the institution had disclosed, with VibgyorHigh School coming in for criticism for not checking the background of its staffer.
Mustafa, who joined VibgyorHigh School in 2011, was arrested on Sunday, with police saying they had found pornographic content relating to children in the laptop recovered from him.
Karnataka government has also written to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations Board to derecognise the school.
Asked whether other staff members were also involved in the crime, Reddi said, “Gentlemen, we will not leave any stone unturned.”
Expressing disappointment over some media reports suggesting that there was a cover-up in the high-profile case, he said, “There are some reports in the papers using the word ‘cover-up’ -- that has hurt us.”
The police added that they have sent Mustafa’s laptop and mobile for a forensic examination. “Mustafa confessed to his crime, but maintains there was another person with him. There is an attempt being made to introduce an outsider into the case and we suspect that he may be coached by someone in the management,” police sources added.
“However, our investigation shows that there was just one person. We found that after the incident was reported to the management, the school authorities took a decision to conceal the matter. They also refused to act against Mustafa as they did not want the matter to spill out, sources also informed. The police added that there are no more immediate arrests on the cards. “We will have to find out what role the principle played in concealing the matter or was she acting at the behest of the chairman.”
Meanwhile, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad activists protested against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s comments to the media on the case.
Siddaramaiah had yesterday courted a fresh controversy in the Vibgyor case when he asked the media if it did not have any other issue to cover.
ABVP activists also tried to lay siege to Siddaramaiah’s residence, but their attempt was foiled by police, who detained them.
-- With inputs from Vicky Nanjappa