In a shocking turn of events, the Maharashtra Police has filed charges against Siju Sheikh for the sexual exploitation and threats against a minor girl. The accused’s wife, Sofiana Sheikh, has also been booked for allegedly harassing the victim and her family, along with issuing death threats. The distressing incident unfolded in the Somvar Peth area of Maharashtra’s Pune district.
The accused individuals are facing charges under sections 376(2)(n) (rape), 377, 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), 34 of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 8, 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), the victim has endured harassment since 2016, when the accused and his mother moved into an apartment owned by the victim’s father. Initially, the accused rented the space and developed a seemingly amicable relationship with the landlord’s family, including the girl.
In 2016, the accused allegedly lured the girl, then a school student, to his home under the pretext of a visit. Alone in his residence, he deceitfully coerced her into undressing, taking derogatory pictures, and subsequently blackmailed her for years, exploiting her sexually.
The victim, now employed in a call center, alleges in the FIR that she was raped by the accused after being administered a spiked liquid. The ordeal continued, with the victim stating that the accused’s wife also harassed her multiple times.
Providing details, the victim, now 19, recounted, “In 2022, I enrolled in Pune’s Desai College for Commerce. Siju, whom I hadn’t seen since school, began stalking me. He coerced me into talking, threatening to reveal compromising photos if I refused. Fearing for my family, I reluctantly engaged.”
She continued, “He revealed he was married but wanted a relationship with me. Despite my refusal, he coerced me into a lodge in Katraj, where he sexually assaulted me after spiking my drink. This happened repeatedly.”
The victim, compelled by fear, did not disclose the incidents to her parents. The situation came to light when Sofiana, the accused’s wife, confronted the victim’s family on December 19, displaying explicit photos and threatening harm.
Sofiana reportedly warned that she would kill the girl for her involvement with her husband. The victim, seizing the opportunity, disclosed her traumatic experiences to her family members, seeking their support.
The victim alleged physical assault by the accused whenever she resisted his advances. Pune Police have taken immediate action, registering a case against the accused for sexual assault and threats against a minor girl. Sofiana Sheikh, the wife, is also facing charges.
Pune district has recently witnessed an uptick in cases of sexual harassment against minors and young victims. In a separate incident on December 19, a South Korean vlogger faced harassment in the city market, leading to the arrest of the accused. Additionally, a case in August reported the conversion and sexual harassment of a 26-year-old Hindu woman from Beed by an individual named Amir.
Further investigations into the current case are underway at Samarth Police Station based on the victim’s complaint and her father’s statement.