Four former residents of Maruthi orphanage in Hyderabad have come forward and recorded their statements in front of a magistrate against three people, accused in the sexual abuse case of a 14-year-old orphan girl. The statements given by the four girls corroborate the statement given by the 14-year-old to the police before her death in the early hours of August 12, 2020. The minor girl was sexually abused, allegedly by 51-year-old Naredla Venugopal Reddy, a donor to the orphanage. He was aided by orphanage owner Chielukuri Vijaya and her brother, Surapaneni Jayadeep, police said.
The girl later died due to health complications. Viscera reports ruled out poisoning, which was earlier suspected, the Times of India reported. The case came to light after the girl spoke to her aunt, who filed a complaint with the police on July 31.
The state had formed a high-power committee to coordinate with the police and investigate the case. The police are in the process of filing a chargesheet against the three persons who have been arrested.
"We are concentrating on the investigation,” said a senior officer investigating the case, “We do have four girls who have come forward and given their statement to a magistrate. They have corroborated the statements given by the girl. We have enough for prosecution,” said the officer, who added that four girls gave statements before a magistrate under Section 164 (Recording of confessions and statements) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The girl was enrolled into the orphanage in 2015 by her uncle and the abuse allegedly began in 2019. According to the statement given by the girl to the police shortly before her death, the hostel warden, Vijaya, allegedly instructed the girl to go to a room in the fifth floor of the orphanage with Venugopal, who had given donations to the orphanage.
In the statement, she also said that Venugopal gave her a juice laced with sedatives and raped her. The minor said that she informed the hostel warden about the sexual assault but was threatened not to reveal the incident to anyone. She added that she used to be woken up by her friend, who would then help her get dressed. The abuse allegedly continued several times for several months.
The girl had told the police that she had seen Venugopal give money to the brother-sister duo many times. The survivor also said in her statement that other girls in the institution had alleged that there had been a similar sexual assault on another girl at the orphanage. When quizzed about this, the officer said, “It will be revealed in the chargesheet.”