Women's safety in the city took another beating yesterday, after an army jawan was arrested for raping a 35-year-old woman near Empress Garden in broad daylight.
Wanawadi police identified the accused as Madhukar Ram Dende (41) of Jalkotwadi, near Tuljapur in Usmanabad district. Dende was posted with the 101 battalion.
According to the police, the woman, from Ahmednagar district, used to sell sugarcane juice outside Empress Garden for the last nine years.
Her husband and father-in-law would also set up stalls nearby selling sugarcane juice.
"On Sunday, Dende, who was posted close to the stall, asked the victim to bring him sugarcane juice. When she brought him the juice, he gagged her and then raped her.
Noticing a crowd at her stall, her father-in-law asked her husband to check where she was. When the husband found her, Dende beat him up too," said Assistant Inspector R V Gaud from Wanawadi police station.
Gaud added that Dende would buy sugarcane juice from the woman on a regular basis. He added that Dende also threatened the husband-wife duo of dire consequences if they informed anyone of the incident. Fearing their lives, they fled the spot.
"However, after relatives came to know of the crime, they returned to the city and lodged a complaint against the jawan," informed Gaud.
Gaud further said that they immediately informed the military authorities, who carried out an inquiry and, prima facie, have found Dende guilty.
"The military police recorded statements and completed all other procedures before handing over the suspect to us," Gaud stated, adding that Dende had been remanded to police custody till April 12.
Meanwhile, owing to a holiday yesterday on the occasion of Ram Navami, the woman's medical tests were not carried out at Sassoon Hospital. Cops are now waiting for her tests to be conducted to investigate the case further.