A special CBI court in Panchkula on Wednesday pronounced nine people guilty of sexually exploiting the inmates of an orphanage, ‘Apna Ghar’, in Rohtak in Haryana. “One of the accused has been acquitted. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on April 24,” defence lawyer Abhishek Rana told reporters. In 2012, allegations surfaced relating to sexual abuse and physical and mental torture of the inmates, including women and minor girls, at the shelter home run by NGO Bharat Vikas Sangh. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had rescued nearly 120 inmates from the shelter after carrying out a raid on May 9, 2012, following a tip-off by three inmates who had escaped to Delhi. CBI probeA month after the raid, the shelter was sealed and the State government handed over the case to the CBI.A probe panel constituted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court had in its report also recommended investigation by the CBI into the entire episode citing sexual, physical, mental exploitation and the use of inmates as bonded labourers at the shelter. The nine who have been held guilty include Jaswanti Devi, the head of the shelter, her daughter Sushma, son-in-law Jai Bhagwan, Jaswanti’s brother Jaswant Singh, cousin Sheela, counsellor Veena, employees Satish and Ram Prakash Saini, and a friend, Roshni. Rohtak’s former Child Development Project Officer Angrez Kaur Hooda has been acquitted.
Faced with a barrage of criticism from his predecessor Sanjay Nirupam, former Mumbai Congress president Milind Deora turned the other cheek on Monday. ‘Unpleasant and unwarranted commentary’, he said, should be ignored. “A party and its ideals are bigger than an individual. Some unpleasant and unwarranted commentary from certain quarters should be ignored,” said Mr. Deora in a statement issued on Monday evening.Unpleasant scenes have accompanied Mr. Deora’s appointment as well as departure, with Mr. Nirupam criticising him over his idea to appoint a three-member committee to run the Mumbai Congress till the Assembly elections. “The idea to appoint a three-member committee to run Mumbai Congress in place of (a party) president is not at all appropriate. It will ruin the party further,” tweeted Mr Nirupam.He ridiculed Mr. Deora over his hints at undertaking an important responsibility at the national level. “Resignation (usually) comes with sacrifice. But here, a national-level position is being demanded. Is this a resignation or a ladder to climb? The party should be wary of such ‘devoted’ leaders,” he said.Mr. Deora, however, said he was humbled by the affection and support he received after his resignation, and asked party workers to keep up the good work. The Congress’s vote share in Mumbai rose by 5%, he said. It was proved in the Lok Sabha elections that party workers can work unitedly for all Mumbaikars and earnestly pursue their support to build an inclusive Mumbai, he said. “We have re-established Mumbai Congress as a party for all Mumbaikars and this is a great beginning to build on,” said the statement.
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