Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Rao had shown reporters a video purportedly to claim the involvement of an All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA’s son in the alleged gangrape of the 17-year-old girl in Hyderabad’s upscale Jubilee Hills on May 28. The Dubbaka MLA has been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 228-A (disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences etc) by the Abids Road police based on an advocate’s complaint. However, the police are yet to serve Rao a notice or question him.
A lawyer himself, Rao said that he had not violated any rules and just shared the information that was circulating on social media. “I had to show the photo and video because the Hyderabad police had given a clean chit to the AIMIM MLA’s son saying he was not involved (in the crime) when, in fact, he is seen in the vehicle in the video. In the same video, the victim is also visible. The Police held a late-night press conference and claimed that the MLA’s son was not involved. The photo and video show otherwise; so it was necessary to make it public,’’ Rao said.
When asked where he had got the visuals from, Rao said that he had found the photo and video on social media. “If the police ask me, I will tell them where I got it,” he said.
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The first information report (FIR) against Rao states that he “released photographs and videos related to the incident to the media that revealed the minor victim’s identity, while the investigation is in progress, which shows he is interfering in the administration of justice and character assassination of the victim and needless to say, it may have caused the minor victim colossal distress”.
The girl was allegedly gang-raped when she was returning home after a party. Based on a complaint from her father on May 31, the police initially booked a case under section 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman to outrage her modesty) of the IPC. They altered the case to section 376D (gangrape) and added sections 9 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act following a medical examination of the girl and the recording of her statement.
Four of the five accused in the case, including two 18-year-old men and two minors, have been apprehended so far. The police are searching for the fifth suspect, reportedly another minor. The police on Monday said that the Toyota Innova in which the girl was allegedly gangraped was found.
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