The Sircilla police on Monday evening arrested a man who's said to be a local leader with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), for the alleged sexual harassment of four minors at a government-run hostel for SC girls in the district. Thangallapalli Devaiah, a former sarpanch of Mandepalli village, had a catering contract with the girls' hostel.
Based on complaints by the hostel warden, M Bhudevi, the Sircilla police arrested Devaiah and sent him to judicial custody. Speaking to TNM, Rahul Hegde, Superintendent of Police, alleged that the accused used to visit the girls' hostel every three days and behave inappropriately with the girls.
"It’s being alleged that he offered Rs 1,000 to one of the girls to spend some time with him. We are still investigating the allegations against him. He is associated with a political party," said the officer.
The police have also taken into custody Vijaya, one of the two cooks at the catering service, on Wednesday. Vijaya allegedly encouraged the girls to interact with Devaiah and have sex with him.
The duo had allegedly threatened the girls with dire consequences if the sexual abuse was reported to the authorities.
The police have booked both of them under Section 354 (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment,) Section 354 A (assault or criminal force on women with intent to outrage her modesty) and under Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
The duo has also been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act at the Sircilla police station. While the police managed to take Devaiah into custody within 12 hours after the complaint was registered, they had to issue a lookout notice to track Vijaya.