A day after Mumbai Police arrested eight persons, including three of its own, for allegedly raping a model on April 3, initial interrogation has led investigators to believe that the woman was detained at a police station for nearly nine hours before she was allowed to go.
Besides, a medical report of the woman, examined by The Indian Express, states that she was sexually assaulted, and notes “bite marks” on her body and signs of her hair having been pulled.
The woman has handed the report to the police, saying she had got herself checked at Cooper Hospital, run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, after being released by the accused following the alleged rape in the Sakinaka area.
She also told police that the accused extorted cash and jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh from her and her male friend.
The arrests, including of Assistant Police Inspector Sunil Khatpe (34) for sexually abusing the woman, came after the crime branch registered an FIR on Wednesday following instructions from Mumbai Police chief Rakesh Maria, who received an SMS from the woman seeking his help.
While the woman has told police that she was forced to perform “oral sex” on the accused, which qualifies as rape under the amended laws, she told The Indian Express that she did not use “the word ‘rape’ in my complaint”.
“I hope justice is swift in my case. I am at present very stressed out. I have told everything to Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria and he was very receptive to my complaint. Also, the media is projecting this case to be that of ‘rape’ but I was actually molested by the accused policeman twice in the chowki. I have not used the word ‘rape’ in my complaint,” she said.
According to police sources, the woman has also stated in her complaint that her ordeal continued even after the alleged incident. “I got messages from an unknown number that I believe is one of the cops’ numbers,” she stated. Senior police officers confirmed that the number belonged to API Khatpe.
Citing the woman’s complaint, police sources said they have detailed a timeline of events that led to the alleged detention and rape.
12.30 am: Victim reaches Holiday Inn Hotel just off the busy Sakinaka junction. She is scheduled to meet a Gujarati businessman, who is an aspiring film producer, in the coffee shop of the hotel. The businessman wants to make a film and is ready to pay her a signing amount of Rs 2 lakh. He, however, asks her to accompany him to his room. The woman refuses, fearing that the man was wired.
12.45 am: She calls her friend, a PR professional, for help. “I am in distress. Leave everything and come now,” she tells the male friend, according to her statement.
12.50 am: The friend reaches the hotel. She is about to ride pillion with him on his scooter when five or six policemen in plainclothes arrive at the parking lot of the hotel and ask the duo to accompany them. They use a private Tata Safari, not a police jeep.
1 am: The male friend is taken to the detection room of the Sakinaka station. The woman is taken to the Sangharsh Nagar Beat Chowki No 1, not far from Sakinaka, where she is held from 1 am to 9.55 am.
5 am to 6 am: The woman is made to perform oral sex, she alleges in her statement. During this period, she calls her male friend at least three times, each time requesting him to pay money to the policemen and end the matter. She does not tell him of the sexual exploitation as she is made to use a cellphone belonging to one of the policemen. Also, the call is not made to her friend’s phone but to the phone of one of the other accused policemen who was at the Sakinaka station. Both cellphones are put on speaker mode.
5 am: Her friend calls the son of former Congress minister Naseem Khan, who used to be the local MLA. He says he has been arrested and needs money. Khan’s son advises him to get the case registered and then procure bail.
5.10 am: The friend calls his mother in Madhya Pradesh and asks her to transfer Rs 4 lakh into the account of a man named Vinod Chattpaar, a manager in the office of the former Congress MLA’s son.
9 am: A man named Praveen from Khan’s office calls Sakinaka police station to check if the male friend has indeed been picked up by cops. The police station replies in the negative.
9.55 am: The victim is allowed to leave, after paying a fine of Rs 1,200. She is given a receipt. The fine is for ‘creating nuisance’ in a public place. Her jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh is also taken, she alleges in her complaint.
10 am: The male friend is also taken to Sangharsh Nagar Beat Chowki No 1.
10.40 am: A domestic help of the male friend collects Rs 4 lakh in cash from Vinod Chattpaar and reaches D-Mart, a supermarket close to the chowki. Three of the accused policemen collect the cash here.
Noon: The male friend is also released.
12.30 pm: He meets the victim outside her residence where she narrates her ordeal.
1 pm: They reach the Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle and get a medical test done.
April 6-7: The woman and the male friend visit the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office in South Mumbai, but find that Maria is not in office.
April 8: She leaves for her hometown and returns on April 21, when she once again visits Maria’s office. Not finding him there, she sends him a text message on his cellphone.
April 22: Maria meets the woman who then lodges a complaint, case is handed over to the Mumbai Police Crime Branch for probe.
April 23: Three policemen and five informers are arrested.
Meanwhile, the woman’s male friend has stated that he was physically abused by the policemen who were holding him at the Sakinaka station when he told them that he was close to some politicians.
“I am a PR professional and many politicians are my clients. When the policemen took me to the station, I told them that I was innocent and named a few politicians for whom I have worked in the past. Whenever I dropped a name I was slapped,” he said.