BENGALURU/MYSURU: The Mysuru police on Saturday arrested five accused, including a 17-year-old juvenile, in the horrific gangrape case of a 23-year-old MBA student at the foothills of Chamundi on the evening of August 24. The five accused -- labourers including two drivers -- are from Tamil Nadu, and were picked up from Tiruppur in the neighbouring state. The sixth accused is still absconding.
These labourers regularly brought vegetables to Mysuru markets. On August 24, they had a party on their return journey and found the girl and her male friend driving on the lonely stretch of the road. They first demanded Rs 3 lakh from the two, who pleaded their inability to pay the amount. The accused then assaulted the boy and gangraped the girl, police sources said. The accused have been slapped with Sections 376-D and 397 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for gangrape and robbery with violence.
Confirming the arrests, Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) Praveen Sood told The New Sunday Express, “We will get the sixth accused shortly.” Under the modified laws, a juvenile above the age of 16 allegedly involved in a heinous crime can be tried as an adult.
Will request judiciary to fast track case: DG&IGP
The Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2000 was amended in 2015 allowing Children in Conflict with Law (CCL) to be tried as adults if they are alleged to have committed a heinous offence.
“On Tuesday, the accused were present at the scene of the crime. They were under the influence of alcohol. Initially, they wanted to rob the couple, but later, they beat up the boy and gangraped the girl,” added the police chief.
Explaining the background of the accused, sources said that they gather for daily wage labour at Bandipalya, which is 8-9 km from Alanhalli near Mysuru where the crime took place. “The accused were tracked using technical and mobile analysis. A lot of field work by police has also helped in tracking the accused,” said sources.
“The accused were reportedly involved in petty theft and extortion crimes earlier, but in the absence of any formal complaint, they were out of police radar,” they added. The incident occurred at the Tippayyanakere region in Lalithadripura area of Mysuru.
Sood lauded the efforts of the Special Investigation Team, headed by ADGP Prathap Reddy and Police Commissioner Dr Chandragupta.
Asked if it was a planned attack, Sood said whether it was planned or not, there is criminal intent. They have committed a nasty crime and they have to face the consequences, he added. “The local police are in touch with their Tamil Nadu counterparts. Arresting criminals is the first step and it means nothing if we are not able to convict them.
For conviction, we need minimum cooperation from the victim. We hope that the victim and her family appreciate our efforts and come forward to make the statement. A strong team of forensic experts has been put on the job to put solid evidence in place. We will also request the judiciary to expedite the case and put it on the fast track,” he added. He said that respecting the sentiment and condition of the victim, they are still not able to get a statement from her.
“We know what she has gone through. Her friend was able to give fairly descriptive, if not full, details of the incident. But the police team has done a good job. Strictly on the basis of scientific and technical evidence, they have been able to make the arrests,” he added. Refusing to give further details, he said the High Court prohibits giving many details of the accused. The case still needs further investigation and the accused are yet to be interrogated, he added.
Asked what was the challenge before the police, he said, “Every case of such nature is extremely challenging. We could not elicit any information from the victim. Again, I am not finding fault with her. Despite all these constraints, the police could detect that the accused had come in a goods vehicle to Mysuru.” He said that FSL teams are functioning full time and after collecting all scientific evidence, the police will file a charge sheet as soon as possible. He announced a Rs 5 lakh reward to the investigative team that cracked the case.
Home Minister to push for spl public prosecutor
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has said a recommendation will be made to appoint a special public prosecutor to ensure that the accused are suitably punished. In a statement, he said the Mysuru police have been told to boost security at all places.
Mysuru University withdraws order
A controversial circular by the University of Mysore curbing the movement of girl students on its Manasagangotri campus after 6.30 pm has been withdrawn, said Higher Education Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan on Saturday. P4