All accused held,cops say victim was made to clean crime scene

Three days after the alleged gangrape of a 22-year-old photojournalist at Shakti Mills in Mahalaxmi,the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested the two remaining accused on Sunday.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 8, 2014 5:08 pm

Three days after the alleged gangrape of a 22-year-old photojournalist at Shakti Mills in Mahalaxmi,the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested the two remaining accused on Sunday. With today’s arrests,all five accused have been arrested.

Mohammed Qasim,18,alleged to be the prime accused,was nabbed by the police while he was sleeping on the terrace of Nair Hospital,Mumbai Central,at 3 am on Sunday. The fifth accused,Salim Ansari,27,was arrested from Ashok Vihar in northwest Delhi.

Qasim and Siraj Rehman Khan,who was nabbed from Mumbra on Saturday evening,were sent to police custody till August 30 after they were produced before a magistrate at the Esplanade Court on Sunday morning.

In the remand application,the Crime Branch said the accused had taken two pictures of the victim with their cellphones and ordered her to clean the crime scene with her dupatta. A Crime Branch officer said the victim’s dupatta had been recovered from the site. “We will get DNA samples of all the five accused from the dupatta,” said the officer.

In the remand application,the Crime Branch said it needed custody of Qasim and Khan as their clothes and mobile phone had to be seized,and their blood samples were also required.

According to Crime Branch officials,at 4 am on Sunday,they received information that Ansari was hiding in Delhi in the house of a friend’s relative. An hour later,they left for Delhi and arrested Ansari from Delhi’s Ashok Vihar area at about 11 am. The police said Ansari’s hosts were unaware of the crime he is alleged to have committed in Mumbai and gave him shelter for three days. He told them he was in Delhi for some work. “We had rounded up all the family members of Ansari,and they led us to the accused,” said a Crime Branch officer.

In Delhi,DCP (northwest district) N Gnana Sambandhan said: “The Mumbai Police reached Bharat Nagar police station (in Ashok Vihar) around 9.30 am today. They informed the staff there about the movements of the accused. Ansari was arrested while he was on his way to the relative’s house.” After being taken to hospital for a medical examination,Ansari was produced before the Rohini court in the afternoon as the police sought a 48-hour transit remand. The court directed the Mumbai Police to produce Ansari before the Mumbai court by August 27. Late on Sunday night,Ansari arrived in Mumbai,escorted by the Crime Branch team.

A Crime Branch officer said Qasim was arrested from the terrace of Nair Hospital in Mumbai while he was sleeping. “We had rounded up Qasim’s entire family,including his 13-year-old brother and elder sister,” said the officer. When questioned about Ansari,both Qasim and Khan “changed their statements” and blamed Ansari “entire” for the crime,added the officer.

Meanwhile,doctors at Jaslok Hospital said the condition of the gangrape victim has improved. “She interacts with everyone now. The hospital’s female staff are around her round-the-clock and she chats with them also,” said Dr Tarang Gianchandani,acting CEO and medical director,Jaslok Hospital.

While discounting any future surgeries,Gianchandani said,“We have not yet decided the date for her discharge,but she is fit and doing fine”.

In a statement released to the media today,the victim’s family sought the “severest” punishment for the accused. “We hope and pray for your continued support and campaign in the fight for justice for my daughter and women at large in India. Now that stringent laws are in place,we are optimistic that your and the government’s efforts will help fast-track the matter so that the severest of punishment is meted out. This will ensure that even the most sick-minded think twice before they act in such an inhuman and insensitive way,” said the statement.

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