Mumbai gangrape: Did callous cops help rape mastermind escape?

Mumbai gangrape: Complete coverage

The Mumbai police apparently tried to arrest the main accused in the gruesome rape of the 22-year-old journalist, by calling him on his mobile phone and asking him to report to the police station! The alleged rapist, Kasim Sheikh alias Kasim Bangali, who was watching a cartoon show on TV at the time, promptly switched off his phone and escaped. More than 36 hours later, he is still at large.

Kasim Sheikh alias Kasim Bangali, who is the main accused in the rape, was earlier arrested thrice by the Agripada Police in other cases

“He had come home on Thursday around 9 pm. I didn’t notice any tension on his face; he was relaxed like any other day. As soon as he came home he started watching a cartoon show on television.” His mother Chand Biwi told SUNDAY MiD DAY, adding: “While watching television he also had his dinner.”

At around 11 pm Kasim received a call from the local Agripada police station. The cop on the other end of the line asked Kasim to meet him. “He told me about the policeman’s call and switched off his mobile phone and went away. He was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt. I haven’t seen him since then,” she said.

Bangali’s family claims that after receiving a call from the cops he switched his cell phone and left home. Pics/ Saurabh Vaktania

When SMD asked the cops about this alleged incident, an officer requesting annonymity, said, “Kasim is the main accused. He was the gang leader. Because of one mistake by a policeman, he escaped. According to our information he is now out of Mumbai and on the run. It will be tough to arrest him quickly.” Another senior police officer refused to comment on the whole matter. Kasim was arrested by the Agripada police recently in a theft case and was on the police radar. So the local cops knew him well. Why they called him up instead of swooping down on his house, is something no policeman is willing to answer.

Meanwhile, the first of the arrested men, Chand, tried to mislead the cops and protect his friends. He gave wrong names to the police during investigation. He provided fake name to the cops initially, making the police pick up several men by that names, only to discover that they were innocent.

Kasim’s mother, seemed to have more information about the other accused. “Chand and the other boys would regularly visit our home. Most of the time Kasim would stay with his friends near Mahalaxmi area,” she revealed. Kasim, she said was arrested thrice by the police for theft. He was also allegedly, involved in recent riots that took place in Agripada.

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