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The Bombay High Court has rapped the Maharashtra police over its dubious conduct in an alleged rape and human trafficking case in which the policemen named as perpetrators by the two victims were assigned the probe.
A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Revati Mohite Dere yesterday directed the police to trace the two victims, including a minor girl, who are missing since April last year.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by an Delhi-based advocate seeking a CBI probe in the case.
As per the plea, the two victims, one of whom is a 15-year-old girl from Nepal and the other an aspiring model from Delhi, had been lured by a Pune resident on the promise of a job.
They were later allegedly forced into prostitution, raped multiple times, and brutally assaulted, burnt with cigars and cigarettes and beaten up with belts by the clients as well as the traffickers, the petition said.
They managed to escape from Pune to Delhi where they met the petitioner who helped them approach the Delhi police.
A zero FIR was filed in Delhi and another FIR was filed in Pune. The victims also named two officials of the Pune police as their clients, the petition said.
The bench directed that the state Advocate General, the Pune Police Commissioner or another senior official from Pune police remain present on the next date of hearing.
The high court is expected to take up the matter for hearing on March 31.
The court also directed the Pune Police Commissioner to appoint a senior officer above the rank of Deputy Commissioner to supervise the further probe into the case.
The HC asked the state government to clarify how were the accused police officials allowed to carry out the investigations in the case.
"Once they have been named by the victim, they have no business to continue being associated with the case in any manner," the bench said.
"The allegations are of very serious nature. In one case the supplementary statement makes serious allegations against the very police officers who are carrying out investigations. The more serious aspect of the matter is that the whereabouts of the girls are no longer known," the judges observed.
"Take sincere and immediate steps to trace the victims," they said.
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