07:58 GMT20 June 2021
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    The penalty for sexual offences against children is extremely stringent in India. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act lays out strict punishments for those engaging in sexual crimes against children and favours the death penalty in cases of aggravated sexual assault.

    An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Gaurav Upadhyay, who was charged with sexually assaulting a minor, a 14-year-old girl, has been named the new Superintendent of Police (SP) of the state's Chirang district.

    Upadhyay was the police chief of the Karbi Anglong district in the state of Assam when the alleged sexual assault took place in December 2019. The officer who is a 2012 batch IPS officer from the state of Uttar Pradesh is yet to face trial in the case.

    According to the charge sheet, the purported incident took place at Upadhyay's home after the victim visited his place to attend a party.  

    A case was filed against Upadhyay by the alleged victim's mother at a women's police station in Guwahati on 3 January 2020, before it was transferred to the CID (Crime Investigation Department). Aside from the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Upadhyay has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for assault or criminal force to outrage modesty and sexual harassment.

    Now the case is being heard in a court of the Special Judge, POCSO Act, Assam, in the Kamrup Metropolitan district.

    The charge sheet says investigations by the special wing of state police have found "sufficient evidence" against the accused and that he "committed aggravated sexual assault as defined under section 9(a)(iv) and section 9(c) of the POCSO Act, 2012, as well as offences under section 354 and 354 A of IPC".

    "The charge sheet was filed after investigations and evidence revealed [Gaurav] Upadhyay's involvement in the case. The allegations against him have been established", CID Deputy Superintendent Pradip Kumar Das said.

    Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta was asked to give his opinion on the case and he said the matter was still with the court.

    "The charge sheet is done", he told the Indian Express. "If the court decides, he [the accused ] will be arrested as per law. Until the decision is given by the court, we have to use his services".

    The charge sheet also states that the assault has left the child with "severe psychological trauma".


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