The 21-year-old college dropout and fitness freak had dreams of making it big in modelling. Her dreams got wings when she met “Colonel uncle” at Shimla’s Amateur Dramatic Club on November 19. Within 24 hours, her world had turned upside down.
“Colonel uncle” here is Colonel P S Grewal, currently posted as secretary of the Army-run club, who has been arrested for allegedly raping the woman.
The victim’s father, a Lt Colonel, said, “She trusted my senior because his daughter is into modelling. He even made a phone call to his daughter and my daughter spoke to her. After this, she was assured that his connections could help her. But this was her mistake and her bad luck.”
For police, the incident has come at a time when it is facing flak for its probe into the Kotkhai rape-murder case. Shimla SP Soumya Sambasivan said, “The court has sent the accused to judicial custody for 12 days. The victim’s statement is our strongest evidence. We are waiting for the forensic report.”
The 56-year-old Colonel has denied the allegations, said police. He said the victim met him on November 19 with her father at the club and later expressed the wish to meet him again in connection with a modelling career in Mumbai. The Colonel has said they exchanged WhatsApp messages and phone calls and she came to his home, but denied the rape charge, police said.
The investigation has revealed that the victim went to the Colonel’s place on November 20 as he had promised to introduce her to some people who could help her, said a police official. “She alleges that she was made to drink forcibly. She fell unconscious and on regaining her senses, she found she was wearing no clothes,” said the official.
The police official said the Colonel dropped the victim home in a private taxi. There, her father invited him for tea, after which he left, the official said.
The victim’s father said, “She was sobbing, but did not tell me anything. Later, I noticed that her behaviour was abnormal and confronted her. She then told me. I called the Colonel the next day and invited him to my office. He denied the incident and got furious that he was being accused of rape. I reported the matter to the station commander”.
Subsequently, the victim was hospitalised after she reportedly consumed some pills in a suicide bid. Following the victim’s narration of the incident, SP, Shimla, intervened and an FIR was lodged, said police sources. The Colonel was arrested on November 22.
Police sources said that while the Lt Colonel has said the victim is his adopted daughter, he has no record of this.
“I brought her up. That’s enough. Why should police coerce me to talk about the past? She is a victim of sexual crime, but she was being grilled more than the accused,” he told The Indian Express.
“She lost her parents as a child. I know it’s tough to get justice, but won’t let one man smash her dreams like this,” he said. The Lt Colonel is biological father to two sons and a daughter. He said his decision to adopt the girl met with resistance from his family.
The Colonel’s wife has told police that he has been wrongly implicated. “He has not done anything wrong. We hope justice will be done to him,” a police official quoted her as saying.
Investigating officer and SHO (Sadar) Shimla Ravinder Kumar said, “We will go strictly by the evidence. It’s not fair to comment at this stage.”