*Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault*
Gaurav Upadhyay, an IPS officer who was charge-sheeted by Assam Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for allegedly sexually assaulting a colleague’s daughter, a 14-year-old girl, has been appointed as the new Superintendent of Police in Assam’s Chirang district.
The charge sheet, accessed by this author, was filed against him on 31 March this year under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to outrage modesty), 354A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code and section 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The case, filed by the victim’s mother on 3 January, 2020, in All Women PS Guwahati, was further investigated by the CID. The charge sheet was submitted before the Special Judge, POCSO Act Assam, Kamrup Metropolitan district.
The charge sheet mentioned that there was “sufficient evidence” to prove that the accused police officer “committed aggravated sexual assault as defined under section 9(a)(iv) and section 9(c) of the POCSO Act, 2012 as well as offences under sections 354 and 354A of the IPC”.
Further, it stated that “a prima facie case has been found well established to prosecute the accused police officer, namely, Gaurav Upadhyay… u/s [under section] 354/354A IPC, R/W [read with] Section 10 of the POCSO Act”.
“The charge sheet was filed after investigation and evidence revealed [Gaurav] Upadhyay’s involvement in the case. The allegations against him have been established,” said investigating officer Pradip Kumar Das, Dy. SP CID to the Hindustan Times. The charge sheet has also stated that the minor girl has encountered a “mentally traumatic experience” as a consequence of the assault.
Upadhyay, a 2012 batch IPS officer from Uttar Pradesh, was Superintendent of Police in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district when he allegedly sexually assaulted the minor. The alleged case of sexual assault happened on the intervening night of 31 December, 2019, and 1 January, 2020, during a party in the accused officer’s residence in Diphu, district headquarters of Karbi Anglong.
The complainant, also a senior police officer, had gone to Diphu with her minor daughter and a minor son to attend Upadhyay’s elder son’s birthday party. The charge sheet mentioned that the crime took place twice; first in Upadhyay’s office building near his residence after the party was over and second at the hotel room at around 2:30 a.m. on 1 January, 2020, where the victim and her mother were lodged as guests.
Later, the mother filed a case against Upadhyay in All Women Police Station in Guwahati on 3 January, 2020, which was further transferred to the CID to investigate.
“The charge sheet is done…. If the court decides, he [the accused] will be arrested as per law. Until the decision is given by the court, we have to use his services,” said Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta to the Indian Express.
The Home Department, Assam, has come under criticism after the transfer of Upadhyay to Chirang district has come to the limelight. Earlier, soon after the FIR was filed against him in January last year, he was transferred back to Guwahati and was attached to Assam Police Headquarters.
Locals, however, have alleged that when the charge sheet has mentioned that the allegation against Upadhyay is “prima facie well-established”, then why did the Home Department entrust him to head the police of a district.
“If the allegations levelled are well established, then why hasn’t the police arrested him yet? He should not have been sent to head the police of a district. This sends a wrong message and the public will not be able to have faith in the police machinery” said a netizen on his Facebook post.
“It is a matter of serious concern that a police officer charged with sexual assault of a minor is given the responsibility of maintaining law and order of a district in Assam,” said former Silchar MP and All India Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev in a letter to Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Dev, in the letter, wrote, “immediately suspend the appointment order of the said officer and ensure justice through a speedy investigation and trial”.
Upadhyay’s transfer is a part of Assam Police major reshuffling of SP-rank officers after the new government took charge in the state. Earlier in January this year, the Gauhati High Court had allowed Upadhyay a pre-arrest bail in the same case registered against him.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.