Andhra Pradesh Police claim to have busted an inter-state gang in Chitoor allegedly involved in raping at least 23 women in the past three years. One of the gang members, an Army jawan, allegedly used to commit the crimes when he came home on leave.
Police stumbled on the gang while investigating the double murder of constable Jawahar Lal Naik and G Devendra, a Home Guard in the Palamaner forest division, in November. Police had gone to the area to investigate when a witness told them he had seen some men dragging a girl into the forest a day before the murders. They also discovered a vehicle registration number scribbled by the constable on his palm before he was killed.
On January 17, police nabbed V Manikanth alias Sampath (27), the owner of the motorcycle with the registration number. Sampath, who hails from Salem district, was the gang leader and led the police to four other gang members. During interrogation, the arrested men confessed to a spate of rapes and robberies.
According to Chittoor SP H Ramakrishna, the gang operated in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh, Kolar Gold Field areas of Karnataka, and Salem in Tamil Nadu, and targeted couples at lonely places. “They have confessed to raping 23 women so far. There may be other incidents as well,” Ramakrishna said. The gang sometimes comprised as many as 16 members.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.