AFTER A search of over four years, two absconding accused, including the prime suspect, in the Park Street gangrape case were arrested from Greater Noida Friday. Kader Khan and his cousin Ali Khan were arrested by Kolkata Police and brought to the city later in the day. They were produced before a city court, which remanded them to police custody till October 14.
Deputy Commissioner (South) Murlidhar Sharma said the duo were arrested by a four-member team of Kolkata Police, in a joint operation with the local police, from their hideout at Sector Alpha in Kasna area of Greater Noida.
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“We had got some inputs from our sources about Kader’s hideout in and around New Delhi. A few days ago, a special team was sent to Delhi. The team arrested Kader and Ali during a raid around 1.10 am,” he added.
Suzette Jordan, a mother of two, was raped on February 6, 2012 by five men who had offered to drop her home from a night club at Kolkata’s Park Street area. In 2013, she had revealed her identity to the world and marched on the streets of Kolkata to protest against rapes and murders in the state. She had died of meningitis last year.
For the past 15 days, the accused were staying with their nephew Faizal, a BTech student, at his PG accommodation. On Thursday, they had gone to attend the birthday party of one Afzal nearby, and returned around 12.45 am, a senior officer said.
As they left the party, police officers in civil dress started following them. “When they arrived at their house, they realised that they were being followed. They immediately rushed towards the terrace of the house. As our officers followed them, they jumped in the water tank. But as the policemen saw them, they came out from the tank and tried to jump to the adjoining building. But constable Sanjib Das caught hold of them,” Sharma said.
Neighbours and other residents of the three-storey building remained tight-lipped about the incident. A local said: “We have no idea who they were. The flats have been given to students on rent and he had some visitors yesterday. We do not want to talk about it. We have nothing to do with this.”
Following the gangrape, Kader and Ali had hid at the residences of their relatives in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Delhi. Police said Kader had fled to Mumbai the day after the gangrape incident. They, however, had not left the country since they did not have passports, said police.
“Kader had straightaway moved to Mumbai and then to Bihar… he later stayed with relatives in various states,” an officer said, adding that the accused has a big family and relatives in almost every state of north India.
“While Kader and Ali had been staying at their relatives’ places they were never at one place for more than 10 to 15 days…,” said an officer.
Police said Kader, in his mid-30s, was unmarried. Ali, however, was married with two children.
After Suzette filed a complaint with police in 2012, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had termed the incident as “shajano ghotana “(fabricated case), triggering a controversy. Damayanti Sen, the then Kolkata Police joint commissioner (Crime), had pursued the case and identified the five accused. She was later shunted from her post.
Later, three of the five accused — Ruman Khan, Naser Khan and Sumit Bajaj — were arrested. Nine months after Suzette died of meningitis, the city sessions court had last December sentenced them to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.