Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Self-styled godman arrested for sexual assault on minor girl

Vishakhapatnam: Police in Andhra Pradesh have arrested a self-styled godman on allegations of sexually assaulting a minor girl at his ashram here for more than two years.

The godman, who is the director of orphanage used to sexually assault the 15-year-old girl for over a year. The accused was identified as Swami Poornananda (64), who is head of Swami Gnanananda Ashram located at Venkojipalem which houses an orphanage and old-age home. The man is being arrested on charges of rape for the second time in a decade. He was held for raping 13 year old girl in 2011.

A case was registered based on the complaint by the minor girl and an investigation is on. The girl from Rajamahendravaram had lost her parents at an early age. Her relatives sent her to the ashram meant for the aged and poor children. She reportedly revealed the truth about the sexual abuse during a counseling session. In her statement, the girl said that she was tied with an iron chain and was left to starve for several days in the ashram.

According to the police, the girl was held hostage by the swami for more than a year and he repeatedly tortured and raped the victim. With the help of a maid servant, the girl escaped on June 13 and boarded Tirumala Express and with the help of a co-passenger she lodged a complaint with Disha police in Vijayawada. The case was transferred to Vizag and the accused was taken into custody.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Disha Police Station, Ch Vivekananda said that the victim girl lodged a complaint against the Swamiji in Vijayawada and she narrated her ordeal.

Based on the complaint, a case was registered against him under Section 376 of IPC (punishment for rape) and relevant section under POCSO Act. The victim was undergoing medical tests in Vijayawada, Vivekananda added.

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