Adding to the growing number of atrocities against women, a 40-year-old was allegedly gang-raped by three men at a secluded spot in Baner — off the Mumbai-Bangalore highway — on Sunday night. Officials from Chatuhshrungi police station have arrested three men for their suspected involvement in the crime. All three were remanded in police custody for seven days by a court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) yesterday.

Behind bars: The trio being taken to court by the Chatuhshrungi police. Pic/Mohan Patil

The accused were identified as Ritesh Maheshkumar Savita (23), Shersingh Janaksingh Rajput (29) and Brijeshsingh Sardarsingh Rajput (20), all from Madhya Pradesh. While Ritesh works as a watchman at a construction site in Mohannagar, Baner, the other two accused work at a site near Akshara School in Wakad.

The rape survivor, a labourer at a construction site, lodged an FIR against the trio at the Chatuhshrungi police station. All three accused were booked under Sections 376(D) (punishment for gang-rape) and 506(2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the woman, who shifted to Pune just two weeks ago, she had gone to buy vegetables and had lost her way while returning home around 7.30 pm. She then sought Ritesh’s help to go to Baner. While she was walking towards her residence, Ritesh approached her and raped her at knifepoint. He then called Shersingh and Brijeshsingh, who took turns to rape her.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Chatuhshrungi Division) Smita Patil said, “The woman was taken to a secluded spot by the suspects. Though she cried for help, there was no one in the vicinity. After a while, a few passers-by heard her screams and rushed to the spot.” While they nabbed Ritesh, the other two managed to escape. Despite his attempt to flee the spot, Ritesh was nabbed for the second time.

“They then called up the control room and informed them about the crime. After this call, senior officers and staff from the Chatuhshrungi police station rushed to the spot and took Ritesh in custody,” Patil said. “Taking advantage of the dark, Shersingh and Brijeshsingh fled the spot. They were hiding in the same area. We made different teams and searched for them in all directions. Both were nabbed eventually.”

She added that all three accused are employees of Vikrant Security Services and P R Enterprises Security Agency. “Though the agencies are registered, it is unclear whether police verification of the suspects was done by the respective employers. We are investigating this as well,” Patil said.

While the rape took place at around 8 pm, the police control room received the call nearly three hours later, following which Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajesh Bansode, ACP Smita Patil, Police Inspector Subhash Nikam and a few constables rushed to the spot where the alleged crime took place.