Mumbai gangrape case: One held, four accused identified by cops

Aug 23, 2013, 15:43 IST | IANS

Mumbai cops have arrested one accused and are on the lookout for four other suspects in connection with the gangrape of a 22-yr-old photojournalist

The arrested accused has been identified as Chand Babu Stattar Sheikh. The accused confessed to the crime and named the four others involved. The names of the four, who are yet to be nabbed, are Vijay Jadhav alias Manya, Karim Bangali, Salim and Ashfaq.

Addressing a press conference, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said, “The arrested accused has confessed to the crime and named the four others involved.”

All five are history-sheeters, with cases of railway theft registered against them at Agripada and NM Joshi Marg Police station. Most of the suspects stay at Dhobi Talao, it has been learnt.

Describing the incident as "horrific", the Police Commissioner told mediapersons that the remaining four people would be arrested soon.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh addressing the press conference. Pic/Satyajit Desai

"Twenty teams of the local police and Crime Branch have been formed and sketches of the accused have also been released," Singh told the packed media gathering.

The incident came barely five days after an American woman was attacked and robbed in a suburban local train, raising questions over the safety and security of women in the city.

According to police, the woman who works for an English magazine was on a shooting assignment in the Shakti Mills compound at Mahalaxmi around 7 p.m. Thursday, when the attack took place. She was accompanied by her male colleague.

Sketches of the accused were released by the cops

Recounting the incident based on the statements of the two victims, Singh said that two men first confronted the duo alleging that they were 'trespassing' on railway property. Later, they called three other accomplices inside the ruins of the factory.

Claiming to question them, one of them tied up the male colleague with a belt and took the woman away from there -- about 20 feet away behind thick undergrowth.

There, the accused allegedly raped the woman, Singh said.

The 22-year old girl, who suffered grievous internal injuries, has been admitted to the Jaslok Hospital along with her colleague and both are in a state of shock.

Her cries for help went unheard in the sprawling mill compound at that late hour and the men -- all said to be in their 20s -- fled after committing the crime.

The police learnt of the incident only after the victim was admitted to hospital.

Home Minister R.R. Patil visited the two victims undergoing treatment at Jaslok Hospital and enquired about their condition.

"This is a very serious matter and we have taken note of it. We shall arrest the accused soon," he told the media.

The police commissioner said the breakthrough was made following a statement given by the victim's male colleague who was present at the time of the incident.

"While one person has been nabbed, four others involved in the incident have been identified and further investigations are underway. They are believed to be living in the vicinity ... further probe is on," he said.

The incident has led to a furore around the country and also echoed in parliament where it was raised in the Rajya Sabha by Bharatiya Janata Party member Smriti Irani.

In Mumbai, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, while strongly condemning the incident, said it was a blot on the fair image of the state and all efforts would be made to book the culprits.

"The state government will bear all the medical expenses of the victims and also extend all possible help to their family members," said Chavan.

Taking serious cognizance of the incident, the Mumbai Press Club and other media and social organizations gathered for a protest at the Hutatma Chowk in south Mumbai Friday afternoon.

(With inputs from MiD Day team)

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