New Delhi: Adrija Manjari Singh, the granddaughter of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh has alleged that Uttarakhand police are refusing to file a domestic violence first information report against her husband, Biju Janata Dal leader and Balangir royal Arkesh Singh Deo and his family.
“I know for a fact that that file has reached the Station House Officer in Rajpur but he’s refusing to act on it because he’s been bought off by the Singh-Deos,” Adrija told The Wire.
Singh had levelled allegations of domestic violence against her husband and his family while speaking to media persons earlier this week. During the press conference, she spoke of the alleged extent and nature of abuse faced by her.
Uttarakhand police filed an FIR invoking sections 504 and 506 of the IPC, pertaining to criminal intimidation and intentional insult, on February 10. However, they have not invoked Section 498A of the IPC that is used in cases related to domestic violence, Adrija alleged.
A copy of her written complaints and the earlier FIR were accessed by The Wire. In addition to her husband, she has named her parents-in-law Ananga Udaya Singh Deo and Vijaya Laxmi Devi, as well as her brother-in-law Kalikesh Singh Deo and his wife Meghna Singh Deo in the complaint, alleging that they were trying to oust her from her marital house in Dehradun.
“After sending me divorce papers on September 8, 2022, Arkesh called my sister Richa on September 14 to ask us to vacate the house…In March this year, they installed CCTV cameras on the premises of the house to keep an eye on me and directed the domestic help as well as other staff to humiliate and abuse me,” her complaint read.
She has also named one Hari Singh and house staff Dinesh and Ravita who have allegedly been acting on her husband and father-in-law’s orders to purportedly threaten her, invade her privacy and create nuisance on the premises.
“On May 1, 2023, Hari Singh, on Arkesh, Kalikesh and Anang Uday Singh Deo’s instructions, roughed up a member of my staff and forcefully took away the house keys from him. He then cut off the water supply to the house and changed the locks,” she wrote in her complaint.
Arkesh’s video rejoinder
There has been no public statement from the Singh Deo family, except two YouTube videos put out by Arkesh Singh Deo where he called these allegations ‘false and frivolous‘. He also said that he’d left that house six months ago and occasionally goes there only to collect his belongings while Adrija‘s father comes and lives with her for the better part of the month. He also alleged that the CCTV cameras installed by him to provide evidence of his innocence were removed by Adrija on two occasions.
He added that a week before his wife made the allegations against him, his father-in-law had allegedly tried to encroach upon his house with the help of a few Saharanpur-based goons. A scuffle had then allegedly followed between his father-in-law and his, according to Arkesh. On allegations of domestic violence against him and his family, Arkesh claimed that it was “all drama” to deflect attention from what had “really unfolded” over the last few days.
Arkesh is the grandson of Maharaja Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo. He contested the 2019 assembly elections from Balangir on a BJD ticket, while his brother Kalikesh Singh Deo is a former Lok Sabha MP from the constituency. His father Ananga Udaya Singh Deo represented Balangir in the Odisha assembly.
Adrija has alleged that the family is using their political connections to influence the police. “The police have failed to provide me with adequate protection and safeguard my right to live in my matrimonial house,” she said while highlighting the Uttarakhand police’s inaction.
SHO, Rajpur police station, Jitendar Chauhan said, “The investigation is ongoing on the basis of the earlier FIR and we are looking into the matter.”
“If the woman has gone to the police station and provided details of the abuse faced by her then the police is under an obligation to file an FIR using Section 498A of the IPC that pertains to ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives. After that they have to investigate the matter and produce that report before the magistrate,’ advocate Amit Dwivedi told The Wire.
Advocate Seema Misra pointed out that, “The provision related to domestic violence offence in the penal code has become ineffective over the years. Usually the police send a complaint using 498A IPC for mediation before registering an FIR which delays proceedings. There is a general tendency by the police not to take cases of 498A IPC seriously.”