Rotherham Council chief back at work after police probe

Councillor Jahangir Akhtar, Rotherham Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods
Councillor Jahangir Akhtar, Rotherham Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods
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The Deputy Leader of Rotherham Council has spoken of his ‘relief’ at being reinstated - following accusations he knew a teenage girl in care was in a relationship with a violent adult offender.

Councillor Jahangir Akhtar, aged 52, stepped down when a national newspaper printed the slur in a series of articles about the prevalence of child sexual exploitation in the town.

But South Yorkshire Police said yesterday an investigation had found there was ‘no evidence to substantiate the claims’ and announced that no action is to be taken against the councillor.

The council chief, who represents Labour, said the claims stemmed from him being asked by the police a number of years ago to try to make contact with a distant relative as part of an investigation to try to find a missing girl.

“I am relieved,” he told The Star yesterday. “As I said from the very outset I am innocent of the scurrilous allegation, but it was so serious that I stepped aside so a full and frank inquiry could take place.

“It has not been easy for my family but the police have done a very, very thorough investigation and there’s no evidence to support the allegation.”

He said his legal team is now looking at the matter.

Coun Akhtar said: “I categorically and vehemently deny doing anything to protect anybody.”