Almost one-and-a-half years after a 20-year-old woman from Ramol was allegedly gangraped by four men, and later died of a septic shock after giving birth to a stillborn child, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch arrested the fourth absconding accused in the case, Hardik Shukla, in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
Up until now, Ahmedabad Police had arrested three of the accused in the gang rape case which was lodged at Ramol police station on March 18 in 2019. The three accused, Rajesh Suthar, Chirag Vaghela and Ankit Parekh, are in jail and currently facing trial in the Gujarat High Court.
“A patrolling team of Crime Branch received an input that a wanted accused in a gang rape case of Ramol was seen near Jamfalwadi canal road in Ahm-edabad. The case was being investigated by the Women Crime Branch. For one-and-a-half years, the accused Hardik Shukla, a resident of Khokhra in Ahmedabad, was absconding. He has been arrested now. He is facing charges under IPC sections 376 (d) for gang rape, 328 for causing hurt by means of poison, 120 (b) for criminal conspiracy and 506 for criminal intimidation,” said an officer of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB).
What is the case?
On March 18, 2019, Ramol police station had recorded the statement of a 20-year-old woman from Ramol area and filed a case of gang rape against four persons.
As per the FIR, the survivor was allegedly lured and raped by four men at different instances in 2018 in Ahmedabad. The woman, who was a second-year student of BCom in a private college affiliated to Gujarat University, was admitted in LG Hospital by her parents on February 26, 2019, where doctors informed them that she was nine-months-pregnant. A surgery was performed on the same day, but her baby was stillborn.
The woman was later shifted to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on March 8 when her health deteriorated. After an FIR was lodged on March 18, the police exhumed the stillborn baby on March 20 in the presence of the magistrate to do DNA testing of the baby in order to find out the biological father of the child. On April 25 2019, the woman died at the hospital after a septic infection in her kidney (renal failure due to septicaemia). The police then began arresting the gang rape accused and three persons were held. However, Hardik Shukla managed to evade the arrest inviting criticism from civil bodies in Ahmedabad.
“The accused Hardik Shukla is also named in two murder cases and multiple prohibition cases in the past,” added a police official. The three remaining accused are currently facing trial in Gujarat High Court. On July 22, Ankit Parekh was given temporary bail of 30 days.
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