Apartments of newspaper owner accused of raping minor girls in Bhopal demolished

He exploited the poverty of girls to lure them, say police who declared a reward of ₹30,000 for information on him

The Bhopal district administration on Tuesday razed six illegally built apartments belonging to a newspaper owner accused of repeatedly raping minor girls and running a sex racket.

While the accused 68-year-old Pyare Miyan, who runs vernacular newspaper Dainik Afkar, was yet to be traced by the police which registered a case against him on Sunday, another minor girl accused him of rape on Monday, the day municipal authorities razed an illegally built wedding hall he owned, said the police.

“He exploited the poverty of girls to lure them,” said Upendra Jain, IGP, Bhopal. “Many other illegally built properties he owned will be brought down.” The police have declared a reward of ₹30,000 for information on him.

The State government has cancelled his accreditation as a journalist after a direction from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, leaving him ineligible for the government residence which he would have to vacate, the Chief Minister’s Office said.

Girls found in intoxicated state

The racket came to light when Childline enquired with five minor girls found by a police patrolling team in an intoxicated state around 3 a.m. on Sunday near Ratibad village on the outskirts of Bhopal.

It was revealed they were taken to a birthday party at an apartment by Pyare Miyan, where he had allegedly sexually assaulted one of the girls. Other girls said they had also gone to the apartment from time to time where they were sexually assaulted by him, said the police.

Miyan reportedly lured girls, residing at a slum resettlement colony here, for working as domestic help. His personal assistant for four years, Sweety Vishwakarma, 21, who is now arrested and resides there too, reportedly brought them to parties and paid them on his behalf, said the police.

“They said he even took them on trips, even abroad. He exploited them until they turned adults,” said Mr. Jain. The girls informed the police he targeted girls aged 13 to 16.

Archana Sahay, director of Childline Bhopal, which is counselling the girls said the case was registered on Sunday based on its complaint to the police after enquiring with the girls. The case has been registered under Sections 366A [Procuration of minor girl], 376(2)(n) [commits rape repeatedly on the same person] and 120B [Punishment of criminal conspiracy] of the Indian Penal Code and 5/6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.”

Whereas, the case registered on Monday was based on a complaint filed by the mother of the girl, last reportedly sexually exploited two years ago. The mother, who worked as a domestic help at Miyan’s house earlier, couldn’t repay a loan taken from him owing to which he had taken the girl with him and reportedly sexually exploited her, said the police.

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