Vashi gangrape: Forensic analysis must to ascertain sodomy, say experts

Updated: Oct 03, 2019, 08:28 IST | Anamika Gharat, Diwakar Sharma, Vinod Kumar Menon

With cops bent on discrediting Navi Mumbai survivor, doctor who performed his surgery says all signs point to rape; independent forensic experts slam cops for shoddy probe and not taking biological samples immediately after the alleged crime

The CCTV camera, the footage of which, the police say, is contrary to the sequence of events as narrated by the survivor
The CCTV camera, the footage of which, the police say, is contrary to the sequence of events as narrated by the survivor

Ten days after the alleged gang-rape of a 34-year-old man in Navi Mumbai, the survivor told mid-day that he was indeed assaulted by men "who took turns to rape" him. The police, however, said it "does not look like rape" and "seems like an act of consensual sex," based on "evidence" from a building near Sagar Vihar the survivor had entered on the evening of the incident.

An officer privy to the investigation said, "After eight days of thorough investigation, we have come to the conclusion that the man had been to an abandoned building near the park." "We have retrieved the location history of his mobile phone which shows that he was inside the abandoned building on September 23 between 6.02 pm and 7.30 pm. Also, there is one photograph that he clicked inside the room on the second floor of the building at 7.29 pm. This proves that the man had not moved out of the building for an hour-and-a-half," another officer told mid-day.

The survivor, however, told mid-day that he left office at 5:30 pm on September 23 and at 6.30 pm reached Sagar Vihar where he parked his motorcycle. "I was smoking when I heard two men gesturing at me. They threatened to kill me and three men took turns to sexually abuse me for 30 minutes each while two men held me. They then inserted a coconut inside my anus. After they left, I somehow managed to come out of the place around 7.45 pm."

Police said the survivor took a photo of this room (inside the building he spent quite some time at, according to them) on his phone on the day the incident happened
Police said the survivor took a photo of this room (inside the building he spent quite some time at, according to them) on his phone on the day the incident happened

He, however, said that he does not recall much about the abandoned building and for how long he was there. "It was really difficult to ride a bike in that condition but I somehow sat on one hip," he said. The survivor told his friends that he "stopped near the abandoned building and climbed the stairs to reach the first floor to remove the coconut inserted into his anus," and has reported this to the police to in his statement.

Police sceptical

The police, however, are not too sure about the victim's story. "If he had been writhing in incessant pain, how did he manage to climb stairs to reach the first floor? The entire building is abandoned. He could have entered any room on the ground floor to take out the coconut. He could also have called the police emergency number to seek immediate relief," an officer added.

A senior officer of Navi Mumbai police ruled out any sexual assault saying that prima facie it seems like "something went awry during the group sex activity at the abandoned building." He told mid-day, "We have recovered a number of used and unused condoms from the first floor of the abandoned building and also a few coconuts of different sizes and shapes wrapped in condoms. One piece of cloth is tied at the tail of all the coconuts possibly to pull it out from the anus after insertion. The involvement and presence of other men at the abandoned building cannot be ruled out."

He added that the victim was captured in a CCTV camera near the park around 6 pm. The victim will be taken to the alleged crime spot to conduct a panchnama after he is discharged from hospital. The police investigating team did conduct a panchnama of the crime spot by making video calls to the victim but "he is unable to recall most things," the police said. The investigating officer said they would wait for two days for the survivor to tell them the exact spot where the incident happened, or else they would close the case.

'Cannot lie in anaesthetic state
Dr Prakash Shendge, who performed a surgery on the victim, said, "The diameter of the coconut was 12 cm and it was wrapped in a piece of cloth and seven layers of condoms to ensure smooth insertion. We somehow managed to take it out and now the victim is out of danger." "The coconut coupled with the seven layers of condoms on it had badly injured the rectum of the victim who was bleeding profusely when he reached hospital. There were multiple injuries around his anus," Dr Shendge added.

The doctor also told mid-day that in an anaesthetic state of mind, the doctors questioned him about his condition and "whether he had been gang-raped or if he was part of a sodomy group." He, however, kept repeating that he had been "victimised." Dr Shendge said that a person could not possibly "influence his brain to tell a lie in an anaesthetic state of mind." "The injury mark point to forceful sexual activity and not consensual. Also, there were a few nail injury marks on the victim's hand and bruises on his body," the doctor added.

Forensic loopholes

Senior inspector Anil Deshmukh and deputy commissioner of police said they did not know if any samples had been sent for forensic analysis. "No sample of semen was found as he was bleeding profusely," Dr Shendge said. "We are yet to send the pieces of coconut removed from the victim's body, condom and pieces of cloth to the forensic laboratory. We will do it on Thursday," said Shrirao adding that an anal swab could not be collected.

The alleged crime scene has not been sealed yet either. Investigating officer Mahesh Shrirao told mid-day that there was no nail injury mark on the victim's body. "The doctor is lying. There is no injury mark on his body," said Shrirao. Forensic experts have called the police investigation "botched up."

Dr Rajesh Dhere, professor of forensic medicine and toxicology said, "Prima facie it seems that such foreign bodies are usually inserted by oneself if a person is into sodomy in which there is loss of anal tone and musculature." "The foreign objects like condom, a piece of cloth stained with blood and coconut shell which are crucial evidence should have been sent to State Forensic Science Laboratory, Kalina for DNA testing and blood grouping." He added that it was also crucial to procure an anal swab of the victim.

"Assistance of a forensic expert would have ascertained if the victim was habitual in sodomy. The nail mark on the face would have helped to ascertain if it was self-inflicted. The police should have insisted on nail clippings of the victim. Lastly, the crime scene investigation should have been done with a forensic expert who could have looked for blood stains and other crucial evidence," Dr Dhere added.

Sept 23
Day the incident happened

Two possibilities

Dr Ketan Vagholkar, a professor of surgery at DY Patil Medical College said, "The foreign body (coconut shell) inside the victim's body points to two possibilities — deviant sexual behaviour for sexual gratification and an act of mutual consent that may have caused severe physical harm." "The anal opening is a dilatable portion which can allow a foreign body to be passed in forcibly. In my practice of over three decades, I have encountered glass bottles and cucumbers being introduced into the rectum with the patient presenting features of bowel perforation. After the patient recovers from the surgical repair, a meticulous psychiatrist evaluation is absolutely essential in order to relieve post-traumatic disorder," the doctor added.

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Vashi gang-rape timeline: Father of two brutally raped by five druggies
  • 1/12

    In September 2019, a 32-year-old man was allegedly gang-raped by five drug addicts at Vashi's Sagar Vihar lake when he was on his evening walk. The victim who works as an administrator in a Belapur-based private company went for an evening walk. When he did not return home for a long time, his family began looking for him. It was around 9 pm when five men, allegedly inebriated, committed the crime. The survivor is a father of two children

  • 2/12

    Doctors treating the man were horrified at the brutality of the crime. The police, too, have said it is the worst case of gang-rape that they have come across in recent years. The police said the rapists dragged the man more than 20 metres inside the bushes and took turns raping him. When the man protested by kicking them, they overpowered him and pushed a whole coconut with a condom almost 12 centimeters into his rectum

  • 3/12

    According to the doctors, they had to drill the coconut using a drill machine at slow speed in order to break it inside. It was broken into four parts before retrieving it from his rectum. The doctors also recovered a condom and pieces of cloth that the accused had pushed into his body. The entire surgery went on for three hours

  • 4/12

    According to the victim's statement, he reached at Sagar Vihar and was smoking when five people who looked inebriated asked him why he was standing there. As soon as he opened his mouth to reply, two of them put their hands over his mouth from behind and dragged him into the bushes. He tried to kick them off but two others held his legs. The rapists then took him a further half-a-kilometre inside through a broken compound wall. He told the police and doctors that while two of them held him, the other three raped him in turns. He said when they had finished, they inserted a coconut wrapped in a condom into his rectum

  • 5/12

    According to the victim, he collapsed on the ground and lost consciousness following which the accused fled. After a while when he regained consciousness, he tried to call for help but no one was around. He then somehow walked till the end of the compound, took his bike and went to his family doctor. As soon as he reached the clinic, he fell unconscious

  • 6/12

    The friends of the gangrape survivor have threatened to take out a candlelight march or sit on a hunger strike if the cops fail to act. They have submitted a letter to senior police officers alleging the lackadaisical attitude of the local police who have failed to arrest the accused even 96 hours after the incident. Also, the police are reluctant to add attempt to murder and kidnapping charges in the case, both of which evidently happened, his friends said

  • 7/12

    The survivor comes from a middle-class family and the family is struggling to collect funds for his surgery, his friends have been trying to help out. His family is unwilling to be part of any protest out of fear of their 'name being ruined'. 

  • 8/12

    A friend of the survivor, Atish Gharat said, "First of all, it took more than 24 hours to convince the cops to register a case in this matter. The incident had taken place on Monday evening and the case was registered after almost 24 hours. The cops wasted more than 24 hours questioning my friend's character."

  • 9/12

    The police investigating the Navi Mumbai gang-rape seem no closer to finding the rapists despite allegedly bombarding the survivor with questions over the past few days. The survivor's friends have blamed the cops for breaking their friend's spirit by continuously questioning him about his presence at the secluded spot on the day of the rape. They have alleged that the survivor broke down twice during the intense questioning

  • 10/12

    The one question the survivor of the brutal gang-rape in Vashi constantly asks his 69-year-old father is whether or not the rapists have been arrested. "I have seen him pleading with the police to arrest the accused soon and give them severe punishment," the father told mid-day.

  • 11/12

    Residents said they have stopped going for walks at Sagar Vihar Lake due to the rise in illegal activities. Residents have complained to CIDCO and NMMC officials several times but no one has taken cognisance. The accused in the case have not been arrested so far

  • 12/12

    The police are now investigating an incident from a few years ago when the survivor had helped nab some robbers. He had seen some people breaking open the locks of a neighbour's house. He waited for them to enter the house and quickly locked the door from the outside. He then gathered all the residents and called the police. Further investigations are on

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