The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mind change in molest case

Patna, July 16: A high-profile case of alleged molestation has turned cloudier with the change of statement by RPF deputy inspector-general of police P.J. Rawal, the accused.

Rawal had allegedly misbehaved with Sujata Preyasi, the wife of IPS officer Gautam Cheema and sister of Bihar IAS officer Vandana Preyasi in a train on July 8.

When Rawal reached Patna today, to be quizzed by GRP Patna — the investigating agency — the DIG said: “I never went to the toilet. It was the Preyasi sisters who took exception to my switching on of my light next to my berth on the night of July 8.”

On July 9, Rawal had told a two-member team, constituted by RPF director-general M.K. Sinha and headed by IG of railway protection security force Gopal Gupta and chief security commissioner of North Eastern Railway Jaya Chauhan, that “after he returned to his berth from toilet, he tripped on a luggage of the Preyasi sisters and fell on Sujata, who was sleeping in the lower berth”.

Patna railway station police station officer-in-charge Alok K. Singh, who interrogated the DIG for an hour told The Telegraph: “Nothing much came out today. We have recorded Rawal’s statements.”

He added that the two-member committee had no legal teeth and could be considered as “a departmental inquiry committee”.

Another railway police personnel added that the DIG dismissed the charges against him. He said it would be curious to watch how the RPF DG reacts to variance in the DIG’s statements.

“Assault and outraging of modesty were added to the original misbehaviour complaint on an after-thought by the Preyasi sisters,” said H.K. Monga, the DIG’s lawyer.

He even accused them of throwing their weight in an attempt to demoralise a senior police officer.

Preyasi sisters refused to react. A case had been registered against Rawal under section 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC following a complaint by Sujata.

Rawal, who is posted in Delhi, was arrested from his office and then granted bail by the investigating officer of the case.

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