HYDERABAD: Is the Innova in which a 17-year-old girl was gang-raped by 18-year-old Saduddin Malik and four other boys, all below 18, at Jubilee Hills on May 28, an official vehicle or a private one?
Inquiries by the TNIE revealed that the vehicle was registered in the name of a woman from Hyderabad. But it was being used by the TS Waqf Board chairman for the last two years. It is not known whether the woman had leased the vehicle to the board chairman or whether the chairman was using a private vehicle for official purposes.
While the vehicle was rented out to the Waqf Board on a hire basis, police say they have written to the Transport Department about the ownership of the vehicle and they are yet to get any reply even though it is four days since the vehicle was seized. The vehicle on the day of the offence was found to be bearing a ‘temporary registration’ label though it was in use for more than two years. The car also had another ‘Government Vehicle’ sticker.
Police are yet to confirm the identity of the vehicle’s owner and how the vehicle came into the hands of the minors who are said to be involved in the case. Hyderabad Police Commissioner C V Anand, at a press conference on Tuesday, said in one context that it was an official vehicle. While answering another query,
he said he did not know for sure.
Delay in tracing Innova ownership invites flak
“There was a sticker that it is a government vehicle. Going by it we assumed it’s a government vehicle,” he said. The question that arises is whether it is necessary or not for the police to know the ownership of the vehicle in which such a horrifying crime was committed. Usually, the police immediately get all the relevant details of a vehicle used for the commission of a crime and strangely, the police appear to have overlooked this important aspect.
This, in fact, had set the rumour mill working overtime that the police “deliberately” did not want to know the ownership or, even if they did, they did not want to reveal it lest the government should get a bad name. However, four days ago when the vehicle was seized by police at a farmhouse in Moinabad on the city outskirts, it did not have the government vehicle label (it was removed) and the T/R label was not clearly visible.
Though it was widely rumoured that the children in conflict with law (CCL), after the offence, washed the vehicle to wipe out the evidence from the vehicle, the police denied it and even stated that some important clues related to the offence were seized from the vehicle.