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Minor caught in report jam

Kokrajhar/Guwahati, Jan. 5: The minor girl whom former Assam minister Rajendra Mushahary allegedly raped in November was found to be pregnant during tests conducted today at a government hospital, but a sonography at a private nursing home later in the day revealed no foetus.

Gossaigaon sub-divisional police officer S.R. Mili said a clinical test and physical examination by doctors at the town's civil hospital 'established' that the 12-year-old was pregnant.

The police then took the girl to a private nursing home for a sonography because the government hospital does not have any ultrasound equipment. After the sonography, Dr M.L. Agarwal of the nursing home declared that the girl was not pregnant.

Doctors at the civil hospital refused to divulge the findings of the pregnancy test, saying they had communicated it to the police.

This is the second time that Mushahary has been accused of rape. Monila Brahma, the complainant on the previous occasion, is now the former minister's wife. They married after a DNA test confirmed that Mushahary was the father of Monila's son, named High Court because of the legal battle that preceded his parents' marriage.

Mushahary was back in the news when Gossaigaon police registered an FIR on Monday on the basis of a complaint by the parents of the 12-year-old girl who used to work as a domestic help at his second wife's residence.

The complaint said Monila recruited the girl on November 15 to work in her house in Hubrubil locality of Gossaigaon town. Mushahary allegedly raped the minor five days later and continued to force himself on her for three more days.

Mushahary said in Guwahati that the rape accusation had been concocted by the 'Absu-BLT group' to malign his image. 'I did not rape her,' he said.

With Dr Agarwal's report contradicting the civil hospital's version, speculation is rife about the possibility of foul play. But Mili quoted a doctor at the civil hospital as saying that he was 'cent per cent sure the victim was pregnant'.

Dr M.M. Deka, the principal of Gauhati Medical College, said one could 'evacuate the foetus' to hide pregnancy. 'But in such a situation, the sonography will show the change in the uterus.'

The veteran doctor, however, said it was difficult to manipulate reports pertaining to medico-legal cases. 'But then, there could be so many ways to play foul if one wants to,' he added.

Echoing Deka, well-known gynaecologist Jyotirmoy Kataki said a sonography in 'a fresh case of evacuation' would show changes in the uterus, but not if the process had been done much earlier.

On the reliability of a urine test, he said there could be 'false positive' reports.

'An enlarged uterus does not necessarily mean pregnancy.'

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