The preliminary investigations carried out by the PMC Education Board in the rape case of a six-year-old girl, who was brutalised in the school van, hinted that the school administration would face action, as there were many lacunae in the contract between the school and the private van operator. After the crime came to light about a week ago, the school director had tried to wash his hands off the incident, claiming that it took place in a private van and not in the official school bus.
“The committee found the contract copy of the school and the private van operator who had been providing the service to the school for the past five years, and there are many discrepancies in it,” said Rajendra Godhane, deputy director of education (Pune).
Other than seven official buses, the school employs the services of seven private vans to ferry its students
He added, “The school administration will face stern action. We have also found contradictions in the statements given by various school members. I am going to forward the report to the state primary education director who will take the final call on it.”
The school van’s driver, Sandeep Kumbhar (30), a resident of Shivne, was arrested on November 14 for repeatedly raping the child, after the child’s mother lodged a complaint at Warje Malwadi police station.
A case was lodged against him under sections 376 (2) (rape) and 354 (molestation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also under sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The assaults occurred in his van between November 10 and November 13. After the arrest, the suspect apparently tried to end his life in police lockup by banging his head on a glass window inside the police station’s interrogation room. He was subsequently booked for attempted suicide under IPC section 309.