Man held for raping 14-year-old

Agartala: Police arrested Manoj Ghosh, 58, from Champlai area in Khowai district, 60km from here, early on Saturday, for allegedly raping a 14-year-old at least 11 times since February this year.

Ghosh, a contractor, and also a state leader of Akhil Bharat Akhanda Vikas Pa-rishad, a social organisation, was arrested from his home at 4am on Saturday and produced before a court in Kh-owai. He was sent to police cu-stody for three days, Khowai superintendent of police Kri-shnendu Chakravertty said.

"The victim has accused him to have violated her several times since February. The assault was claimed to have continued till first week of April, after which she fled with her mother to a relatives' place at Bishalgarh. A complaint was lodged at Bishalgarh women's police station on Friday night and Ghosh was arrested on Saturday morning," Chakravertty said.

He said the accused, who is a neighbour of the victim, was charged with rape and criminal intimidation under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso).

The CPM has claimed that Ghosh is a state leader of the VHP. The party's Teliamura sub-divisional committee secretary, Subir Sen, claimed that the girl was threatened not to divulge details to anyone.

But VHP state organisational secretary Amal Chak-raborty denied the allegation. "I know Manoj da as a social worker. We take no responsibility for his actions."

The CPM has sought "exemplary punishment" for the accused and security for the victim's family.

PCC vice-president Tapas De condemned the incident and said severe punishment should follow if the charges were found true.

The central cabinet on Saturday decided to grant capital punishment for those guilty of raping minors below 12 years of age.


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