Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Hardeep Singh was arrested onTuesday from a bus stand in Sangrur, for allegedly attempting to rape a 15-year-old Dalit girl.
Senior superintendent of police, Pritpal Singh Thind said, “On a tip-off, Hardeep was arrested from Dhindsa village at 8.45 am. During interrogation he said he is an active leader of the AAP and has close relations with AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior leaders Sanjay Singh, Bhagwant Mann, Durgesh and others”
A Photographer by vocation and a resident of Sangrur’s Lehal Kalan village, the accused projected himself as AAP in-charge in the village and was booked by the Moonak police two days ago for allegedly trying to rape a minor at his photo studio.
The said incident occurred on September 9, in the dark room of Hardeep’s studio, when the 15-year-old, along with her younger sister had gone to get photographed. In her statement the girl stated that while her sister was waiting outside the darkroom of the studio, the accused locked the room from inside and tried to rape her. When she screamed, her sister unsuccessfully tried to open the door, it is reported. “Later, the victim’s sister shouted after which people nearby gathered and their father also arrived on the scene. While they tried to break open the door, Hardeep himself opened the door and pushed people away to escape,” the complaint says.
Hardeep denies the claims, blaming it on a part “political conspiracy” against AAP. “All I said to her was to keep her shoulders in the correct position for the photograph, but she has alleged that I tried to rape her. The girls are my relatives. I cannot even imagine doing such an inhuman act,” he has said.
However ever so conveniently, AAP’s Sangrur convenor Jassi Sekhon, upon asked about the said accused denied being anyway related to the party. “The man in question was just a supporter of AAP and he was not an office bearer. So party has nothing to do with him in this case,” he said.
The accused is charged under sections 376/511 (attempt to rape), 354B (using criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.