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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tracked 381 buses and used scientific evidence to crack Dec 16 case: Probe officers

Chhaya Sharma, who was DCP then, said: “Totally, I feel all the challenges and problems were worth taking on. For me and my team, it’s a moment when not only our faith in the judicial system, but also that of victims who look at us expectantly for justice, stands vindicated.”

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi | March 21, 2020 3:09:59 am
Tracked 381 buses and used scientific evidence to crack Dec 16 case: Probe officers The Supreme Court had appreciated the role of the Delhi Police for collecting unimpeachable scientific evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Months before his retirement, ACP Rajender Singh Yadav felt a sense of relief early Friday morning after he received a call from his subordinate, informing him that the December 16 gangrape-murder case convicts — Mukesh Singh, Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma — had been hanged.

Recalling the night of December 16, 2012, Yadav, who was instrumental in the police probe, said they received a call from the South district control room to inform them of a “serious rape case” in the area.

“Minutes after receiving the call, all senior officers, including our then DCP (South) Chhaya Sharma, reached the hospital and were apprised about the brutal incident. The investigation teams were formed immediately and I started assigning tasks to all team members,” he said.

Yadav said that with each passing minute, there was increasing pressure on the teams for a breakthrough.

“We were told by the complainant that it was a semi-deluxe bus and we, on the basis of her (victim’s) call detail records, started tracking their location. After scanning footage from several cameras, we noticed that the bus took two rounds of the same road in Mahipalpur. We zeroed in on the vehicle and also observed that it had ‘Yadav’ written on it. Further, the wheel cap of the front tyre was missing,” said inspector Aishvir Singh, another member of the probe team.

Singh said the bus was traced along with one of the accused from R K Puram, after examining 381 white buses. “After arresting the first accused, we managed to get details of the others and picked them up,” he said.

Yadav, who is set to retire in September, has also been involved in the probe into the murders of TV journalist Soumya Vishwanathan and liquor baron Ponty Chadha. “In most cases of my career, the accused was convicted. But I was always tense while waiting for justice to be delivered… This case will send a message to the society that those who commit such crimes will not be spared,” he said.

The Supreme Court had appreciated the role of the Delhi Police for collecting unimpeachable scientific evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. “The investigation of our case was iconic as, for the first time, we relied on scientific evidence to prove the charges. We used evidence like bite marks, matched the DNA and also made a digital route of the entire incident,” said inspector Pratibha Sharma, the investigation officer.

Chhaya Sharma, who was DCP then, said: “Totally, I feel all the challenges and problems were worth taking on. For me and my team, it’s a moment when not only our faith in the judicial system, but also that of victims who look at us expectantly for justice, stands vindicated.”

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