Four days after the gangrape of a 19-year-old girl in Rewari, police have arrested one of the three main accused in the case, besides two others. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has also transferred Rewari SP Rajesh Duggal as he felt “police inaction initially” in the registration of FIR.
Nishu, a local wrestler, has been arrested, said DGP BS Sandhu on Sunday evening. The two others arrested by the eight-member SIT formed to probe the incident are Deendayal, who is from the victim’s village and the owner of the tubewell where the sexual assault took place, and Sanjeev, a registered medical practitioner who administered first-aid to the victim after the gangrape but did not inform the police about the crime, police said. “He should have informed the police about the crime,” said Sandhu.
Amid outrage, DIG-level officer Sateesh Balan has also included in the SIT. Two other main accused, Pankaj, an Army man, and college student Manish, are still absconding. “Over 100 people have already been questioned,” said Nuh SP Nazneen Bhasin, in-charge of the SIT.
Deendayal had provided the three main accused the key to the room near the tubewell where the incident took place, police said. He has been arrested on the basis of “technical evidence”, said police. “He has been hiding since the crime. He has made some revelations before the SIT, on the basis of which we are conducting further searches for the main accused,” said Bhasin. “The accused was produced in court today and has been taken into remand for further questioning.”
Besides Rewari, police are conducting raids in Rajasthan, Delhi, and other states to nab the three main accused, and are taking statements from people in “all the areas that are connected to the crime”, including Kanina, from where the girl was abducted. “In addition, we have provided security to the family of the victim, and have posted personnel at their home as well as in the area,” said Bhasin.
Rewari SP Rajesh Duggal has been replaced by 2009 batch IPS officer Rahul Sharma, who was posted as Superintendent (Security). Khattar, who was on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, cancelled all his programmes scheduled in Punjab on Sunday to visit Chandigarh. He called DGP BS Sandhu to his office to review the investigation, directing him to ensure arrest of the accused at the earliest.
Sandhu confirmed that the Chief Minister decided to transfer Duggal after he felt “inaction on part of the police initially”. “Action may be taken against more policepersons if any fault is found on their part during an ongoing inquiry by Rewari ADGP,” said Sandhu. “The probe in the gangrape case will be completed within one month to ensure justice to the girl. It’s trial will be conducted by a fast track court,” he added.
Meanwhile, the victim’s mother on Sunday said that the family intends to return the Rs 2 lakh cheque handed to the girl’s father under the Haryana Victim Compensation Scheme 2013 by Vivek Yadav, Chief Judicial Magistrate and Secretary of District Legal Services Authority. “Such a crime has been committed and instead of giving justice they have given us this cheque.We want justice, not a cheque. Is this the price for my daughter’s dignity? I am returning this cheque,” she said.
Earlier on Sunday morning, Khattar said the accused would not be spared at any cost and it is unfortunate that they were known to the victim. A reward of Rs 1 lakh has been announced and the accused would be nabbed soon, he said. The BJP government in Haryana also came under attack from other parties over the incident. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda sought Khattar’s resignation. “Haryana has become a crime hub under Khattar government as the official figures given in the recent state Assembly session prove that crimes against women have increased by 47 percent since the BJP government came to power,” Surjewala said.
AAP national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also targeted the Haryana government for its “insensitive attitude” and said the government had acted “shamelessly” in its handling of the case. The incident occurred on September 12 when the girl was abducted by two men from her village after her father dropped her off at the Kanina bus stop.
(with inputs from ENS, Jalandhar)