The Kumbakonam police arrested four men who allegedly gang raped a 25-year-old woman in the temple town. The incident happened when Delhi-based Sangita*, who had taken a train from Chennai, reached Kumbakonam around 1 am on December 3. She was in town to join a bank as an employee. Stepping out of the Kumbakonam railway station, she hired an autorickshaw to reach her house.
The autorickshaw allegedly took a roundabout route which made Sangita sense that something was amiss. She immediately checked with the auto driver about the route and also called up her friend and passed on information over the phone. The auto driver dropped her off in Chettimandapam, around 4 km from the railway station, leaving Sangita stranded in the middle of nowhere with her trolley suitcase.
Speaking to TNM, Kumbakonam DSP Sengamalakannan said that Sangita took a lift from an unknown man on a bike from Chettimandapam. They were then followed by the man’s friend, who was also on a bike. “They then took her to a secluded spot near Kumbakonam bypass road and with two more friends joining them, they raped her. As she tried shouting for help, the four men threatened her with grave consequences,” he said.
After assaulting the woman, one of the men accompanied her to the main road and hired an autorickshaw for her in which he also travelled and got down midway. As the autorickshaw dropped her at her house, Sangita noted down the auto's registration number. She started work on Monday and shared the incident with her colleagues and lodged a complaint with the Kumbakonam West police station. The police, with the help of the registration number of the auto given by Sangita, traced the four men and arrested them on Wednesday.
“The man who travelled in the auto after sexually assaulting the woman had used the autorickshaw driver’s phone to make calls to his friends. That is how we traced the accused. The auto driver also helped in identifying the man. We are now searching for the first auto driver who left the woman in the middle of the trip and absconded,” the DSP told TNM.
The Kumbakonam police arrested S Purushothaman (19), S Anbarasan (20), S Dinesh (24) and M Vasanth (21), and registered a case under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 366 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
(*Name of the survivor has been changed to protect identity)