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Friday, September 24, 2021

Pune minor gangrape case: Victim’s acquaintance, 5 more held

The six arrested include five accomplices of the eight suspects held earlier and one acquaintance of the minor, with whom she had travelled to Chandigarh after being released by the perpetrators.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: September 8, 2021 8:01:38 am
At a protest organised by the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee at Pune station on Tuesday, to demand action against the men who raped the minor girl. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

Six more persons have been arrested in connection with the gangrape of a 14-year-old girl in Pune, taking the total number of arrests in the case to 14. The six arrested include five accomplices of the eight suspects held earlier and one acquaintance of the minor, with whom she had travelled to Chandigarh after being released by the perpetrators.

The 14-year-old girl, who had gone to Pune railway station on August 31 to travel outside the city to meet a friend, was abducted from the railway station premises by an auto-rickshaw driver on the pretext of giving her a lift and helping her find a place to stay. She was raped at different places in the city for several hours by the auto-rickshaw driver and his accomplices.

After an extensive manhunt conducted by Pune City Police, eight persons, including two employees of Indian Railways and five auto-rickshaw drivers, were initially arrested. Continuing their manhunt on Monday night and Tuesday morning, Pune Police have further arrested five more accomplices of the eight accused.

A senior inspector, from the police station where the rape case has been registered, said, “We have arrested five accomplices of the eight perpetrators arrested earlier. We have also arrested a 20-year-old acquaintance of the girl with whom she had travelled to Chandigarh after being released by the other accused.”

Officials said the acquaintance was placed under arrest for taking the girl to Chandigarh in spite of being aware of the fact that she was a minor. The six persons arrested have been remanded to police custody. Another officer, who is part of the probe, said, “We are investigating the possibility of all 13 having sexually exploited the girl at some point of time… we are now trying to exactly establish the sequence of events and how the girl was taken to different places. The arrested accused will also be taken to these places to affirm the timeline that we know as of now. The girl was raped in multiple secluded locations, places with a tree cover or inside a lodge, and even in two auto-rickshaws and on the premises an office of the Indian Railways. We are examining these locations to build our case.”

After being informed of their involvement, the Railways administration in Pune had suspended the two employees on Monday. An offence in the case has been registered under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping), 376DA (gangrape of woman under 16 years of age), 377 (unnatural offences) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

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A press statement issued by the Pune district information officer quoted Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar as saying, “The incident of rape of minor girl in Pune is infuriating and shameful. The police have taken steps to arrest all perpetrators and the state government will make sure that they receive the maximum possible punishment. Police have been given directions to make sure that such incidents do not happen again. As the suspects in the case include Railway employees, the state will contact the Union Railway Ministry to take necessary steps.”

Police have identified the 13 arrested suspects as Mashaq Kanyal (27), Akbar Shaikh (32), Rafiq Shaikh (32), Azharuddin Ansari (27), Prashant Gaikwad (32), Rajkumar Prasad (21), Noib Khan (24), Meerawali Shaikh (24), Asif Pathan (36), Shahjur alias Siraj Chhaparband (28), Sameer Shaikh (19), Firoz alias Shahrukh Shaikh (22) and Mahboob alias Gaus Shaikh (23).

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