In October 2018, an 18-year-old mentally challenged teenager was raped in a dark deserted lane in Tardeo, 70 km from her home. For the last two years, a dedicated police team from Tardeo has been trying to nab the accused, who in a bid to avoid arrest, had crossed over to Nepal. Finally, a phone call last month helped trace the 38-year-old culprit to Patna.
The man, Manoj Saha, was arrested last week and a chargesheet will soon be filed in the case, police said. An officer said the charge of gangrape made against the accused will be dropped, as the survivor, now 20 years old, had told police in 2018 that she was raped by three men.
“She is still traumatised. Whenever there is a mention of any sexual assault around her, my daughter starts shouting. The incident has left a deep scar,” said the woman’s father. Police said on October 10, 2018, the woman had fought with her sisters and left the house. She took a train to Mumbai Central and slept on a road at Tardeo, where Saha forced himself on her in the wee hours.
“She returned home after 24 hours (October 11) and we noticed a change in her behaviour. When I took her into confidence, she told me of her ordeal,” said the father. The woman had then said she was raped by three men. Accordingly, a case of gangrape was registered. Eventually, police managed to identify the accused as Saha, who did odd jobs in Mumbai. After committing the crime, he escaped to his native place at Sitamarhi district in Bihar.
“Soon after the FIR was registered, we were informed that the culprit had escaped to Bihar and a team was sent to his native place,” said an officer. However, Saha managed to cross over the border and flee to Nepal.
Police said Saha stayed at his sister’s place in Nepal for a few months. “He stopped using his cellphone but stayed in touch with a friend in Mumbai. Saha would call him from a telephone booth and ask for updates on the investigation,” the officer said.
“Recently, he called his friend to take an update on the investigation and gave away his location…,” said Assistant Inspector Sachin Mane. The woman identified him at the police station.
“She told her father then that there was only one culprit… As only one person has committed the offence, a chargesheet will be filed under sections of rape,” said the officer.
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