In yet another incident that has questioned the state’s law and order situation, a 22-year-old mother of two was allegedly drugged and gangraped at Maheshtala in South 24 Parganas on Thursday. Police have nabbed four of the five accused, while Raj, with whom the woman entered into a relationship after her husband deserted her, is still at large.
According to a complaint lodged by her brother at Maheshtala police station on Friday, the victim, a resident of Akra in Maheshtala, had boarded a pick-up van along with Raj on the evening on July 31. The complaint said that four other men, including the van driver, were already in the four-wheeler which, sources said, did not have a registration plate. As soon as the woman boarded the vehicle, the covers on the sides were let down and she was forced to consume a sedative-laced soft drink. In a while, she was drowsy. The accused then took her to a lonely spot where she was allegedly gangraped.
While the other accused left, driver Chotu dumped her on the road and fled, the complaint said. Local residents found her in a semi-conscious state and took her to Vidyasagar Hospital, where she is undergoing treatment.
Sources said medical reports of the girl have confirmed rape.
The victim’s brother said: “She was at home when Raj asked her out. She has received severe injuries on her hands and knees. An eyewitness said she was dragged out of the vehicle by the driver and left on the street.”
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Officers of Maheshtala police station said the vehicle had been seized and four of the accused had already been arrested. “We first nabbed driver Chotu. We then interrogated him and found the whereabouts of the other three,” said a senior officer. However, main accused Raj is still at large.
However, in a statement made hours later, Additional SP (west) A Ravindranath said the victim had specifically complained that only one person, Raj, had done the act, while the others stood guard. “Among the arrested were Chotu, the van driver, Vijay Malik, Sukur Ali and Taj. They have been sent to police custody till August 6,” he added.
Transport minister Madan Mitra condemned the incident. “It is a highly condemnable act. I have asked police to give me a report as soon as possible and to send the offenders behind bars. There is no question of any leniency,” he said.
Leaders of the Opposition, too, condemned the act. “It has been proved once again that the roads of the state are not safe for women. Maheshtala is not even that remote a place,” said state BJP president, Rahul Sinha.