That S Ravindranath has been nabbed by police after allegedly attempting to defile a minor girl is significant. That he had eight more under his care is equally crucial. Pali police from Raigarh district have arrested the Mumbai-based schoolteacher on charges of molesting the victim — the despicable episode took place on her birthday. The girl had been sheltered by NGO Vedant Welfare Foundation (VWF) run by the accused.
According to cops, Ravindranath is an art teacher employed with a school at Mazgaon. He also operates his NGO in Pali, Raigarh for underprivileged children. Last week, VWF had organised a birthday party for the victim on the terrace of its building. After the cake had been cut, Ravindranath asked other NGO members to go downstairs. He and the girl remained behind. On the pretext of greeting her, Ravindranath allegedly molested the victim. The girl resisted and shouted for help. Ravindranath fled, came to Mumbai and joined a school.
The other members of the NGO approached Pali police and registered a first information report (FIR) against Ravindranath and VWF in-charge Nirmala Pawar. On Tuesday, Pali police came to the city and arrested Ravindranath from the Mazgaon school.
“We have arrested Ravindranath and Nirmala Pawar under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC. We will send an arrest report to the school soon,” said Dilip Gawade, Pali police station in-charge.
According to sources, members of VWF have also informed police about several irregularities at the organisation, claiming that illegal activities were going on there for two years. Police are also verifying whether the NGO was involved in human trafficking.
The twelve other children who were living at the NGO’s accommodation have been shifted to another shelter home at Kharghar after medical tests.
“It is true that Ravindranath has not been attending school for a week. We are not aware of his arrest or involvement in any illegal activity,” said a member of the school management on condition of anonymity.