Four days after a 16-year-old girl was gang-raped by four men from a gang of six, the Dindoshi police have arrested three of the accused yesterday. The trio were nabbed from Diva railway station while attempting to flee the city for neighbouring Karnataka. The three arrested have been identified as Wasim Sayyed alias Katta (23), Yuvraj Pillai alias Surya (19), and Shivkumar Vishwakarma alias Kalva (19).
Police have also intensified their search for the other three accused - Azgar Afzal Khan, Arjun Selva Pillai and Rahul Bairagi - who are believed to be holed up in the forested area in Kurar, Malad (E). Cops added that Arjun and Rahul may not have sexually assaulted the minor, but had lured her to the spot where she was gang-raped. These two have been booked for aiding and abetting the crime.
According to the Dindoshi police officials, the three arrested accused had been co-ordinating with each other while making plans to flee the city, as soon as they got to know the survivor had approached the police. Police said that two of the arrested accused initially took refuge in the forest of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Kurar, Malad (E).
On Monday, however, they hatched a plan to leave the city and made their way to Kalyan railway station. But, when they reached Diva railway station they alighted, as they were aware that the CCTV cameras installed at Kalyan railway station would help trace their movements. They then called up the third arrested accused on his mobile phone and asked him to arrange a car for their onward journey to Kalyan.
“We were tracing the mobile phones of the two accused who had been in touch with the third accused. As soon as we got their location in Diva, we dispatched a team who arrested the three,” said a police officer from Dindoshi police station. Cops presented the trio in court where they were remanded in police custody till November 12. The police have booked the three under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Five out of the six men are history-sheeters, and have various cases registered against them in the past, including robbery, theft, and kidnapping. Meanwhile, a police source said that a year-and-a-half ago, police had registered a case wherein four minor girls, including the survivor, had gone missing. “The girls had gone missing after they had eloped with their boyfriends. The survivor had run off with Rahul, while the remaining three girls had eloped with Katta, Arjun and Azgar,” said a police officer, on condition of anonymity.
Excerpts from the survivor’s statement
“I got a telephone call from Arjun on November 1 inviting me for the Dhanteras puja. Then Azgar came on the line asked me if I will meet them at MHADA bridge, from where they would take me for the puja. I agreed and Rahul and Arjun met me on the way.
Soon Azgar joined us. He had beer bottles. I got scared and told the boys that I want to go home, but they wouldn’t let me leave. They started drinking and after 10-15 minutes Surya , Katta and Kalva arrived there...
...Then Rahul and Arjun left. I protested, but Katta hit me. He pointed a knife at me and told me to shut up after I began crying. They forced me to drink beer, which was spiked. Katta said that if I did not cooperate, he would break my head with a stone.
...Then Azgar and Kalva raped me. Later, they told the others “Hamara ho gaya, hum ghar jaa rahe hain”. Two others then raped me. They then dragged me to a house near the bridge. They stepped out and I managed to escape...
After the minor managed to escape from the spot, she went home and narrated the incident to her brother and sister-in-law. They escorted her to the Dindoshi police station on Friday night, but the duty-officers allegedly dismissed the allegations and did not register an FIR in the matter.
The complaint was finally recorded by the police on Sunday night, after a social worker intervened and brought the matter to light. After the police apathy was brought to his notice, Patil said that a police official of the rank of additional commissioner of police conducted an initial inquiry into the lapses on why a non-cognisable offence was registered in the gang rape case, and why only two days later was the FIR registered.
The report was submitted to the DCP later. According to the report, the on-duty police officers said that the survivor, on November 1, had not told them about the gang rape, but had only said she was teased and slapped.
However, looking at the seriousness of the matter, the DCP is recommending stern action against the two cops. The DCP has recommended a departmental inquiry against the policemen and until details of the investigation are received, the two cops will be handed out suspension orders.