Tirupati police arrest part-time preacher accused of sexually assaulting his employee

Tirupati Urban SP denied allegations that there was “political pressure” to hush up the crime as the accused was an influential man.
Representative image of a man harassing a woman
Representative image of a man harassing a woman
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Tirupati police arrested a man for allegedly sexually assaulting his employee, on Thursday. The accused, Devasahayam, had sexually assaulted an employee of his company, Rainbow Cleaning Products, located in Renigunta, Andhra Pradesh. He is also reported to be an evangelist. Incidentally, a former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had alleged that the arrest was delayed due to “political pressure” and religious bias. However, Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police Avula Ramesh Reddy denied allegations that there was religious bias in apprehending criminals.

On Thursday afternoon, M Nageswara Rao, former Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who has been recently embroiled in a hate speech controversy, put out a letter on Twitter addressed to Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, alleging that Tirupati police were under pressure to hush up the alleged rape, as the accused is a Christian. He wrote that the alleged incident took place on October 3, but the case was registered only on October 12. 

“Sir @ysjagan, a poor girl was allegedly raped by a pastor in Tirupati on October 3. Police are reportedly under pressure to hush it up. The case was registered after nine days on October 12. The accused pastor is not yet arrested. Please intervene to ensure justice to the victim,” Nageswara Rao wrote. 

In his letter, Nageswara Rao wrote that the accused person “being a Christian Missionary involved in the business of conversions, is learnt to be a man of means and influence. It is further learnt that due to political and other interference/pressures the police are going soft   and the accused has not yet been arrested.”

SP Ramesh told the media that the woman had reported the incident to the police on the morning of October 12 during the Spandana programme (a weekly grievance redressal programme), and that a complaint was immediately registered. According to Deccan Chronicle, the SP said that when the accused threatened to harm the victim if she approached the police, she got scared and remained confined to her house for a few days before deciding to register a complaint. The victim’s mother told reporters that the accused had been harassing her daughter by intimidating her, and had confined her for a couple of days when she tried to quit her job. 

The accused was arrested on Thursday afternoon around 3.30 pm, according to Tirupati police. 

Commenting on Nageswara Rao’s tweet, SP Ramesh said, “We are not seeing their (accused persons’) religious activity. Whoever has committed the act, we are to arrest that person, irrespective of their profession and affiliation. That’s our goal, and those are the directions from the Chief Minister and Home Minister too,” he said. 

Referring to Nageswara Rao’s accusation that the police had shown a delay in registering the complaint, SP Ramesh said that in spite of being a former IPS officer, he had failed to verify basic facts. “Don't drag unnecessary things into the investigation,” he said, referring to Nageswara Rao’s tweets. 

Responding to Nageswara Rao’s demands for compensation to the victim, the SP announced that he would provide Rs 25,000 as compensation. 

Recently, Nageswara Rao had called the death of popular Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh 'good riddance' in a tweet. The tweet saw severe backlash and was pulled down by Twitter.

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