Delhi teacher framed in TV sting may be free Monday


New Delhi : Uma Khurana, the mathematics teacher who was framed in a fake television sting operation purporting to prove her complicity in a student prostitution racket, is likely to be set free Monday as police is not going to oppose her bail plea.

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Asked whether police would now request the court to dismiss the false charges against Khurana, a senior police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said she would most likely be out on bail.

“She is most likely to get bail possibly because of no evidence against her, and also she can’t influence the other witnesses as the reporter and freelance journalist have already been arrested,” the official added.

The police have decided not to oppose the bail plea. They could not cancel the charges against Khurana by themselves, the official added, because the matter was now in court, and the decision would have to be taken by the judiciary.

Khurana, who had been remanded in judicial custody before it was found that the TV sting was fake, was arrested due to pressure from the public and education officials after the channel Live India showed what they claimed was an investigative report into a school prostitution ring in which she was the alleged kingpin, senior police officials admit.

The teacher in the government-run Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya at Asaf Ali Road in central Delhi was arrested “under direct pressure of the public and indirect pressure from some state officials”, the senior official said.

“We had no option except to arrest her. People blindly believe what television channels show and take action accordingly. There could have been trouble again if she had not been arrested,” the official clarified.

The airing of the report triggered large-scale violence with hundreds of angry people gathering outside the school and smashing windowpanes of the building demanding her immediate arrest. Khurana was assaulted in public and her clothes torn off.

The Delhi government, acting quickly on the purported sting report, sacked Khurana without a proper inquiry.

Delhi Police officials later accepted that they had not found any evidence against her.

“Investigations reveal that she was framed by television reporter Prakash Singh on behalf of a businessman, Virender Arora, who had a personal enmity with Khurana,” said another police official.

“Prakash also involved Rashmi Singh, an aspiring journalist who acted as a schoolgirl in the sting,” said the official investigating the matter.

“Except for the prima facie evidence (now found to be doctored) received on the tapes supplied by the news channel in which Uma is found accepting money for arranging a prostitute for the sting operator, journalist Prakash Singh, we have no other direct or indirect evidence on record against her,” the official added.

Police arrested Prakash and Rashmi on charges of cheating, fabrication of evidence and criminal conspiracy for their role in the fake investigative story. Prakash was arrested Friday, while Rashmi was arrested Thursday.

Rashmi was produced in court Friday, where she said she wanted to turn approver in the case. Asked to react to this, the police official said the prosecution had not yet decided whether to accept her offer. She was remanded in judicial custody till Sep 15.