While how Rustom Soonawala (46),accused of raping a 26-year-old woman,escaped while being escorted to Khar police station nine days ago is not clear,the Parsi doctor known for his civic activism remains at large with police claiming they are in the dark.
Members of Parsi community have come out openly in his support.
The woman,a migrant from Orissa who stays with her husband in Ghatkopar,had gone to his clinic on May 17 for a follow-up of her tuberculosis treatment when,she alleged,the doctor raped her.
Her case is being pushed by Aam Aadmi Party.
Khar police officers investigating the case said the mobile phone of Soonawala was switched off since May 18.
Investigating officer inspector Asha Korke said the doctor had been declared an absconder. Soonawala is not in his house and his family said they do not know where he is.
Soonawala had applied for an anticipatory bail last Tuesday claiming he had been framed. The court is scheduled to hear his plea again on May 31.
His lawyer told the court at the last hearing police lied to him that somebody had broken into his clinic. Police said the doctor agreed to accompany them to the clinic.
While Soonawala drove his car,his sister and a constable were with him. After the constable blurted out that he was being implicated in a rape case,Soonawala made him get out of his car and allegedly fled.
The defence moved an application seeking permission to produce his semen and blood samples,provided he was not taken into police custody. The application was,however,rejected by the sessions court.
The victim questioned police inability to arrest the doctor even after this plea was rejected.
Her lawyer Shakil Ahmed said after she approached Khar police,an officer and two constables set out to arrest Soonawala on May 18 accompanied by the victim and her husband.
He said on reaching his residence,cops told Soonawala he was being arrested and would have to come to the police station.
Soonawala then started making calls and after a short conversation with the officers,police asked the woman and her husband to reach Khar police station by taxi while they would accompany Soonawala in his car. The couple reached there and waited for two hours before the police officers entered the premises and told them Soonawala had escaped with his car, said Ahmed.
The victim told police during a regular check-up,Soonawala told her she was 99 per cent cured and could conceive if she wished. She claimed to have been childless for seven years and tuberculosis was a reason.
Soonawala asked me if I wanted to conceive immediately. When I told the doctor me and my husband were desperate to have a child,he asked my husband to go out,bolted the room and raped me.
Four days ago,while arguing before the sessions court for anticipatory bail,the defence lawyer said vaginal swab of the victim had to be compared with blood and semen samples of Soonawala to make sure the case was true. The lawyer argued there was no need to take the accused into custody to confirm whether he had raped the complainant (victim) or not.
According to medical reports obtained by the prosecution,her vaginal swab had semen traces.