The Karnataka police Wednesday arrested five people for allegedly gang-raping a college girl in April, officials said. Later, on Thursday, the police arrested and booked eight people for circulating the videos.
Although the incident took place on April 3, it came to light on Tuesday after two videos were circulated across several WhatsApp groups. The police filed a Suo Motu case after being alerted by the social media monitoring cell of the Dakshina Kannada police department, they said.
Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police B Laxmi Prasad said the victim had been identified and information she gave, led to the arrest of the five. All five of the accused are reportedly students at the college she studied in, one of them being her senior. The police then filed another case at a different police station, after which, the arrests were recorded.
Officials familiar with the investigation said they were investigating allegations that the victim had been drugged before the gang-rape.
“The accused are still under custody as procedures are still underway. They will be produced before the magistrate soon after completing those procedures,” Prasad added. Charges against the five were filed under sections 341 and 376 (d) of the Indian Penal Code for wrongful restraint and gang-rape respectively.
Prasad said the Suo Motu case was filed immediately to curb the circulation of the videos. “We informed the public not to transmit the referred videos over social media or save them on their phones/computers. We reiterated that doing so is an offence under Section 354C of the IPC and 66E, 66A of IT Act and all those (including group admins) sharing the video will be booked on the above-mentioned sections,” he said.
“The crackdown on the first person who uploaded the video led to the discovery of the other seven online perpetrators who shared it to other WhatsApp and social media groups,” Prasad said.