FOUR days after a Dalit couple were attacked in Mainpuri, the wife abducted, and the husband allegedly tortured by police when he went to file a complaint, police on Tuesday made its first arrests, confirming that the men may have been part of earlier kidnapping and rape incidents on the same highway.
Police had doubted the husband’s claims, accusing him of foul play, and said an initial medical report had ruled out rape. Three officers of Bichhawan Police Station, suspended after report of the incident came out and charged with attempt to murder, are absconding.
Two of the arrested men have been identified as Anil Kumar alias Amit (36) and Shilendra Yadav (29), both residents of Etah, and are said to have confessed to abducting and raping the woman. Police are looking for a third accused, Lalu alias Satendra, a native of Mainpuri district, and said the men were wanted in seven cases, including attempt to murder, rape and robbery.
Officials claim to have recovered two countrymade pistols, two live cartridges, a car allegedly used in abducting the woman, as well as the woman’s possessions, including her purse containing her husband’s Aadhaar card, the registration papers of the motorcycle in which the couple were travelling and Rs 5,000, from Kumar and Yadav.
A second medical examination of the woman by a panel of doctors, ordered by the District Magistrate, Mainpuri, could not be carried out on Monday as the hospital where it was to be conducted was busy with victims of the bus accident on the Yamuna Expressway.
Superintendent of Police (Mainpuri) Ajai Shankar Rai said her examination would now be done on July 11.
SP, Etah, Swapnil Mamgain said they were tipped off that criminals involved in some highway robberies were hiding in an under-construction house near Suna village in Etah. While Kumar and Yadav were arrested after a brief encounter, police said, Lalu managed to escape. “They confessed to involvement in three recent highway incidents, including the Mainpuri one. The other two incidents involve the kidnapping and rape of a woman in Kasganj on July 4 and robbery of Rs 35,000 from a man in Etah on May 10,” said the SP.
Mamgain added that the accused had been jointly interrogated by Etah, Kasganj and Mainpuri police. “The details they gave about the crimes matched the sequence of events provided by the victims. The modus operandi of the gang was to target couples on the highway. They would rob and rape the woman.”
Police are looking for two other men said be their associates, Mukesh Yadav and Ram Avtar of Etah.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the husband of the victim said Friday was the first time they had ventured out on the highway (Aligarh-Kanpur) at night. “I was going to Mainpuri for the last rites of my elder sister, who had died after a prolonged illness,” said the 41-year-old.
Belonging to Bulandshahr district, the couple are staying for now at a relative’s home in Mainpuri district. The husband works in a factory, while the wife, 38, is employed in a private firm. They have been married 12 years.
As they neared Naveen Mandi in Kurawali area of Mainpuri around 11.30 pm, three youths in a car blocked their motorcycle, the husband said. “They got out and dragged my wife at gunpoint into their vehicle. As I tried to stop them, they smashed my motorcycle and hit me. After they left, I dragged my motorcycle for about half an hour to reach Bichhwan area of Mainpuri where I made a call to the police control room from the cellphone of a taxi driver, informing them that my wife had been kidnapped. I was asked to wait there.”
He added, “After a few minutes, a team from Bichhwan Police Station arrived in two vehicles. When I informed them in detail what had happened, they started suspecting and questioning me, instead of searching for my wife. I was forced to repeat the sequence several times. Suddenly, the policemen started beating me with sticks, right there on the road, claiming I was fabricating the kidnapping story. They said I had killed my wife and concealed her body. They told me to reveal the place where my wife’s body was dumped… I kept requesting them to search for my wife but they did not listen.”
Later, the husband said, “Another team arrived and took me to the Kurawali Police Station. Since the incient had occurred in the Kurawali area, the Bichhwan police had informed them too.”
He said he reached the Kurawali Police Station around 2 am, when he made a call to his family members. “At around 4 am, my wife too reached there and said the kidnappers had gangraped and dumped her in adjoining Etah district after taking her jewellery and Rs 15,000. She told me she took a bus to Etah and called up our family, who asked her to reach the Kurawali Police Station.”
He said the police torture had left him with severe pain in two fingers of his right hand. “On Tuesday, police took me to a hospital for X-ray.”
Station House Officer of Kurawali Police Station Shiv Singh Chauhan said they were trying to find the absconding policemen, Bichhwan Police Station Officer Rajesh Pal Singh, constables Krishnaveer and Chhatrapati, and one unidentified constable.
They are facing charges of attempt to murder and voluntarily causing hurt, and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.