BENGALURU: The Mysuru gangrape of an MBA student has been solved in a record three days, with the police arresting five people, including a 17-year-old juvenile, on Saturday.
“It is a very unfortunate case, but it would be unfair to brand Karnataka unsafe for women,” said Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) Praveen Sood.
In an exclusive interview with The New Sunday Express, Sood said that it is not possible to eradicate crime, but a fair analysis of violence against women (VAW) will be to compare the crime statistics with the conviction rate in the state.
A young couple in an otherwise safe city like Mysuru is waylaid and the girl is gangraped. It reflects poorly on Karnataka and the safety of women. As Head of the Police Force, what are your comments?
What happened is extremely unfortunate and should not have happened. Women feel safe in Karnataka, which is why we have a healthy gender mix in almost all educational institutions and places of work. Crime cannot be eradicated and no city in the world can be considered safe. Crime can happen anywhere.
If you were to look at the case histories, 95 per cent of rape cases happen within the four walls of a house/place. In 90 per cent cases, people known to the victims are the perpetrators. Our efforts are to investigate, chargesheet cases of violence against women and bring them to a logical conclusion. The conviction rate in rape cases is fairly high in Karnataka. Undetected cases are in single digits.
In the October 2012 law student gang rape case in Nagarbhavi, the case was detected in four to five days; charge sheet was filed in a month’s time and the seven accused were sentenced to life imprisonment. One juvenile accused was given a two-years term.
The June 2013 Manipal student gang rape case was detected after eight days and charge sheet was filed in due time. Five accused were convicted in 2015. Three of them were awarded life sentence and two were handed two years imprisonment. In that case also, the victim had not given any statement. The complaint was filed by a university employee.
What kind of pressure were you and your team under, to crack the case, with the CM and HM directly overseeing?
The police work under a lot of pressure — from civil society and our political leaders. But we cannot allow that to interfere in our investigation. I am not okay by arresting anyone under pressure. I have to ensure that the investigation has been done scientifically with all evidence backed forensically to, make it a watertight case so that it leads to conviction. We will request the High Court to expedite trials in such cases.
What were the limitations in solving the Mysuru case?
We started with the complaint given by the victim’s male friend. She has been in no position to give her statement. We understand and empathise with her. She has undergone tremendous trauma and we would not want to make her relive it at this point. We will wait till she recovers physically, emotionally and psychologically. Her male friend has given a statement, but is not aware of the full facts because he was beaten and rendered unconscious. We had to rely heavily on technological and scientific inputs along with some sound ground policing.
What are the new tools of investigation in detecting heinous crimes?
We are increasingly using technology and scientific tools to collect forensic evidence. We have upgraded the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Bengaluru and set up satellite FSLs in the districts to help the police. Two more units are coming up in Hubballi and Ballari. We are also in the process of recruiting Scene of Crime (SoC) Officers to gather critical evidence from the scene of crime. The government has sanctioned 206 posts. This will be the first such team in India trained in conducting forensic investigation.