Kolkata: Man acquitted of Pocso charges back in school – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: 52-year-old Manoj Manna had worked for 31 years in a reputable English-medium school. Nearly 29 years of it were spent handling children before the cops arrested him on charges of physically abusing a three-year-eight-month-old girl, a student of lower KG. He was in school when cops came knocking and picked him on December 4, 2017.
Nearly 51 months later, as he stepped inside the school on Tuesday, barely hours after he walked free from the jail on Monday late evening — with the Pocso charges against him quashed — all that Manna had in mind was his honour. “I have always worked here as a proud and loyal employee. I just hope to see my honour restored,” he said.
The long court battle has already taken its toll. The small house and the adjoining land he owned is now mortgaged. “I am virtually penniless. Without the help of my in-laws, I would have never walked out free,” he said.
“The first time I was questioned was almost two years and five months after the alleged first incident. Then an incident took place at another south Kolkata school and cops arrested me. I still say with conviction — and I have handled kids from 1988 — that I had no idea why I was singled out,” he told TOI.
These four years, he claims, was worse for his family.
“My son passed his HS exams with flying colours. He always wanted to be a doctor. But I cannot afford tuitions for him as I was in jail. My wife received some support from the school to run the family but most of what she earned was spent on my legal battle,” he said, adding his son was self-tutored.
“He is sitting for his JEE this year. The internet is his only tutor,” he said.
His lawyer Salim Rahaman, whom Manna thanked as the man who “believed in him at a time when few others did”, recalled how the medical aspirant would come back home crying after being taunted by class mates.
“The single incident wrecked not only the man but his entire family – financially and psychologically. I do hope he gets back the respect as quickly as possible,” said Rahaman.
An Alipore additional sessions judge Umesh Singh had acquitted Manna of all charges on Monday.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/man-acquitted-of-pocso-charges-back-in-school/articleshow/90241918.cms