The woman head of a Bal Ashram (children's home) in Madhya Pradesh has been taken into custody over allegations that her father, now on the run, was drugging and sexually molesting the minor girls, police said on Friday.
The centre, Madhav Bal Ashram, is run by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) -- Shakuntala Parmarth Samiti -- in Patel Nagar locality of the town.
Following written complaints from the inmates of the Ashram to the District Magistrate, a Women and Child Development Department (WCD) team investigated the mater, police said.
According to sources, the girls told the probe team that Director Shaila Agrawal's father K.N. Agrawal, who is a retired teacher, abused them physically.
"When we complained to the Director, she would beat us," said one of the victims.
Two counsellors accompanying WCD Joint Director Suresh Tomar were told by the girls that the inmates were drugged and exploited physically. Girls of the Ashram, aged between 11 and 18 years, also informed the team about several other irregularities taking place in the centre.
Tomar told IANS: "Based on the findings of the investigation, Child Protection Officer Sarita Shukla lodged a complaint with police, which led to the arrest of Shaila Agrawal. They have been booked under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012."
Kotwali Police Station In-charge Sanjay Mishra said: "A case has been filed against the Director and her father. While Shaila Agrawal was taken into custody on Thursday, we are trying to arrest her father, who is on the run."
According to Mishra, there were 23 inmates in the rehabilitation centre, of who six complained of sexual exploitation.
The Madhav Bal Ashram has been sealed and the inmates have been temporarily shifted to a women's hostel until an alternative arrangement is made.