A police team was rushed to Ooty when they learnt that the accused was there with his family. From Ooty, the accused drove to Bengaluru and managed to escape.

Representative image of a woman trying to get out of a car: Hyderabad Jubilee Hills rape: Cops yet to nab 5th accusedRepresentative image of a woman trying to get out of a car
news Crime Tuesday, June 07, 2022 - 10:54

The Hyderabad cops are yet to nab the fifth accused in the gangrape of a 17-year-old girl in Hyderabad. So far, out of the five accused persons, three minors (children in conflict with the law) and one man have been arrested by the police. The fifth accused, also a minor, who is reportedly the nephew of an MLA, has been on the run for days.

Eighteen-year-old Sahuddin Malik was arrested on June 3 while two other accused, both juveniles, were arrested the following day. On June 5, the third boy was arrested. The fifth accused is still at large.

Slamming the Hyderabad police for the delay in the investigation, Krishna Sagar Rao, BJP chief spokesperson said, “When it comes to heinous crimes such as gangrapes and daylight hacking, the standard operating procedure is to act on arresting the individuals even if based on circumstantial evidence. In this case the complainant has shared details of those who sexually assaulted her. Despite this, the Hyderabad police dragged their feet for five days to make the arrests.”

Stating that the fifth accused was still at large because of the delay in the investigation by the police, he said, “The patronising through political appeasement by KCR and his government has led the police to tie themselves down in knots and not act in time, especially as an MIM MLA’s family seems to be involved. The BJP condemns this inordinate delay in arresting the fifth accused amid media reports of this individual having fled the country.”

The sexual assault of the minor girl happened on May 28 in a car. The incident was reported only three days later, and by then, the accused were already at large. Though the police did not reveal details about where the accused were picked up from, TNM has learnt from sources that the absconding fifth accused is giving the police a tough time.

Why the fifth arrest is delayed

A Police Department source said that a team rushed to Ooty when they learnt that the accused minor was there with his family. From Ooty, the accused drove to Bengaluru and managed to escape. A three-state search — Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — was carried out by the police, but they currently do not have any leads on his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the statement of the survivor was recorded in front of a magistrate under section 164 CrPC and the police await a copy of the statement for corroborating it with the version of the accused and other leads collected.

The Police Department has also received notices from the National Commission for Women and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights regarding the investigation. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has also expressed anguish over the incident and asked for a detailed report from the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police.

On Sunday, the CLUES team of the Hyderabad police collected samples from the Mercedes Benz — in which the sexual assault happened — and sent it to the Forensics Department for analysis. The clothes of the accused and the survivor were also collected and sent for analysis. TNM has learnt from sources that the accused had washed the clothes and hence it is unlikely that anything can be concluded from their clothes. However, the team believes that some of the samples collected from the car, which includes hair strands and finger prints, can give important leads.

Timeline of events

According to the police, four of the accused along with the survivor, whom they befriended at a pub, boarded a car (red-coloured Mercedes Benz) and headed to a pastry shop. Later, they boarded another car (Innova), which was being driven by another friend of the accused.

On May 31, three days after the incident, the survivor’s father approached the police and shared details. According to sources, the survivor had not come along and her father showed the police a photo of his daughter with bruises. Immediately the police swung into action. According to sources in the Department, the father of the survivor and another man approached Joel Davis, DCP West Zone, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place.

A case was registered under section 354 IPC (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and sections 9 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The next day, the police recorded the statement and filed the first FIR based on the details provided by the survivor at the time. 

She was then sent to a Bharosa centre with trained counsellors to encourage her to share more details. Later, based on the details shared, the sections were altered to IPC section 376 D (gang rape) and section 5 and 6 of POCSO Act (Aggravated penetrative sexual assault). IPC Section 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) was also added as there were bruises on the body of the survivor.

As some of the accused are minors and the survivor is also a minor, the police are tight-lipped on several details about the case. Though the rules state that the FIR and other important documents of the case cannot be shared with media and others, the first FIR was soon in circulation.

The police say they are confident that the fifth accused will be arrested soon and they will be able to corroborate the versions of the accused and that of the survivor along with the CCTV footage collected.

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