October 7, 2021 4:33:57 am
A Vadodara local court Wednesday sent former trustee of Pavagadh’s Kalika Mata Temple to judicial custody after the completion of three days extended remand in an alleged rape case of a 24-year-old LLB student.
The man, accused of assaulting and raping the woman at her rental accommodation, had been in police custody for six days after his arrest from Junagadh last week. The prime accused, a city-based chartered accountant, continues to be at large after the FIR was filed on September 19, after the alleged assault and rape on September 14. Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) have been formed to trace him.
According to officials of the Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), teams have been sent to Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to look for the CA. The prime accused, who had employed the victim as a trainee in April this year, has also filed for anticipatory bail at a Vadodara court. The order on the bail plea is expected Friday.
In his bail plea, he has claimed that he was out of town and was travelling to Lucknow between September 1 and 3 when he has been alleged to have sexually assaulted the woman. His advocate produced air tickets before the court and also proof of his hotel stay.
Countering his bail plea, DCB police inspector VR Kher submitted an affidavit on behalf of the police, stating that the prime accused not only sexually assaulted the survivor after spiking her cold drink during an introductory meeting with the former temple trustee, but also forced her to “forge a physical relationship with potential land investors”.
Kher has also stated that the CA had installed a spy camera in the bedroom of the woman’s flat and later shared pictures of the act with a friend of the woman and his own friend to “blackmail” her.
The affidavit added that the accused forced the woman to return to the office and resume her duties after the assault, according to call records accessed by the police. In order to lure the victim to not approach the police, the prime accused also offered the victim the post of CEO and a major share from a land deal involving a company that is in SEBI’s defaulter list, the affidavit stated. The police have said the CA also smashed the victim’s phone in an attempt to threaten her and later purchased a new handset for her.
“During the (former) temple trustee’s interrogation and reconstruction of events in the flat, we found circumstantial evidence to corroborate the victim’s statement… The accused in custody had been misleading the police saying that he does not know the CA. We will be able to seal the gaps in the narrative only when the CA is arrested,” an officer of the investigating team said.
A total of three accused have been booked in the case so far. The third accused is a city-based businessman, who allegedly helped the former trustee escape and tried to mediate a settlement with the victim following the incident.
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