BHAIRAHAWA, July 14: A juvenile witness of sexual exploitation of girls in Nepal Avinash Orphanage in Madhbaliya-4, Rupandehi has gone missing from the orphanage.
Witness Manoj Thapa, 13, and his friend Prem Sunar, 10-who had revealed sexual exploitation of girls by managing director of the orphanage Ashish Thapa -- have been out of contact for the past 12 days.
District Child Welfare Officer Rajya Laxmi Gupta said the duo was last seen leaving the orphanage at five in the morning on July 2. “We have filed a police report,” Gupta said.
Ashish has been accused of raping two girls and attempting to rape five others.
An officer with Rupandehi Police investigating the sexual exploitation case called the missing of two boys, who do not have any relatives, mysterious. “The relatives of the accused may have felt that the case can be weakened by disappearing the witnesses,” the officer stated. Police had taken statement of Manoj Thapa along with the victims and the witness account in the court could have proved crucial in the case, the officer claimed.
A police constable, who had taken Ashish to the court on July 9, said he heard Ashish´s father Ramesh telling the accused not to worry and giving assurances about prompt settlement of the case. He was sent to judicial custody on the same day. Police said Manoj´s friend Sunar has also been disappeared to make it look unrelated to the case.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dipak Regmi said police are investigating the case of two boys missing from the orphanage. Father of the accused, insisting that his son is not guilty, said that he has heard about disappearance of the two boys but claimed he did not have any additional information. Ramesh, who was found in the orphanage in a police raid a month ago, had promised to cooperate in the investigations.
Child Welfare Committee of Rupandehi had dissolved the management committee of the orphanage after accusation of sexual exploitation last month and formed a new 13-member management committee. There are currently 28 children in the orphanage while seven girls have been shifted to Maiti Nepal, Bhairahawa.