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FSL report says woman found dead in Valsad train was not raped: SIT

Vaishnavi Taparia, a colleague of the victim, the NGO’s managing trustee Priti Shah and her husband Sanjeev Shah, were booked for alleged intentional omission of information to police regarding the alleged gangrape, which is believed to have led to the suicide.

By: Express News Service |
Updated: December 6, 2021 8:30:03 pm
The woman alleged in her complaint that her husband started slapping her and then picked up the baby from the mattress.

A month after a 19-year-old woman’s body was found hanging inside a coach of Gujarat Queen Express train at its terminating station of Valsad on November 4, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Monday said that the final report of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) had ruled out gangrape, even as the Vadodara City Crime Branch booked three members of the private NGO, which the woman was attached to.

Vaishnavi Taparia, a colleague of the victim, the NGO’s managing trustee Priti Shah and her husband Sanjeev Shah, were booked for alleged intentional omission of information to police regarding the alleged gangrape, which is believed to have led to the suicide.

Addressing reporters on Monday, investigating officer Deputy Superintendent of Railway Police BS Jadav said that the victim was “not gangraped as per medical reports” but the SIT will continue to investigate the case for the stipulated period based on the victim’s diary notes.

Revealing details of the FSL and the histopathology report, DySP Jadav said, “The final cause of death, as per the FSL, is asphyxial death due to hanging. The FSL has ruled out gangrape… A report of the sample of the vaginal swab sent to FSL has come back negative for semen strains.

The viscera has also not indicated any poisoning… But our investigation is ongoing. We are trying to gather other evidence that could support (her narration in her diary)…”

Jadav said that the angle of gangrape was being based on the woman’s diary account. “The postmortem report has indicated three injuries on her hand, thigh, and inguinal region… we are not ruling out a sexual assault yet… There are minor injuries on her body as per the postmortem… she has also described abduction and her bicycle was missing… We have questioned auto drivers, security guards, newspaper delivery agents, etc.,” Jadav said.

The investigators are analysing the data from five mobile phones in the vicinity of the alleged incident of crime, Jadav said, adding, “We will come to a conclusion after the analysis… so far, the investigation in the case of gangrape booked at Valsad railway police, as well as abetment of suicide continues.”

On December 4, The Indian Express had reported details from the postmortem report that had not indicated the presence of injuries to support the alleged gangrape. The report of the postmortem, conducted at the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS)-run Medical College Hospital of Valsad, states there was “no evidence of injury or fracture” on the victim’s skull, although she claims in her diary that she was dragged over a stone-path, causing injuries on her head, while her perpetrators allegedly hit her bicycle with a vehicle to abduct her.

A senior officer of the SIT said that the victim’s narrative had a “serious discrepancy” with circumstantial and medical evidence being found by the investigators. The officer said, “In the first part, she said that the accused allegedly tore off her clothes to commit the gangrape, but later, she has mentioned that when she was found by the ‘uncle’ (the first witness in the case), she was ‘not naked’… She has also said she did not see the two accused as she was unconscious most of the time but she has said that they were ‘not mavali type’ and were wearing ‘fragrance’… We are unable to find even circumstantial evidence to corroborate her account but the attempt is on.”

While police continue to investigate the alleged sexual assault of October 29, investigators say the incident described in her diary took place within 27 minutes. The woman was last spotted in a CCTV in the lane near the Malhar point area in Vadodara at 6.22 pm on October 29 and was found injured but “fully clothed” at the ground at 6.48 pm by the first witness.

The SIT has interrogated three persons so far — a security guard, from whose possession the victim’s bicycle was recovered, a cleaner accomplice of the security guard as well as a man, who the woman spoke to for 36 seconds before she allegedly died by suicide. DySP Jadav said that all three persons have been cleared as not being suspects.

The Crime Branch said that the woman, who was completing a Misaal Honorary Explorer (MHE) course at the NGO, first informed Vaishnavi about the assault. Vaishnavi informed the Shahs about the same but the NGO did not report it to the police. “There is a cognisable crime that has occurred at the hands of the NGO, which, after knowing that a possible crime has occurred with the victim on October 29, intentionally omitted passing on the information to the police,” an officer said.

The Crime Branch said that the city police will now approach a court to seek permission to probe the case further.

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