Hunting for rapists,cops ran into quarry,shooed another away

Two went home to eat dinner,one of whom then watched an hour of cartoons.

Written by Megha Sood | Mumbai | Published: August 27, 2013 1:37:23 am

One was allegedly caught dozing through a porn film — his third in a row,apparently — at a video parlour,another sleeping on the premises of Nair Hospital,posing as a relative of a patient.

Two went home to eat dinner,one of whom then watched an hour of cartoons.

One accused travelled to his favourite bar,in another part of the city. None of them appeared to have an inkling,at least initially,that they were the targets of the biggest manhunt launched by Mumbai Police in recent times.

Along the way,police actually bumped into two of the accused,it has now emerged — only to unwittingly alert them. Salim Ansari was asked for directions by the police to his own house in Chembur. And Siraj Rehman was shooed away by policemen from Marine Drive in the wee hours of Friday because a rape had taken place in central Mumbai.

The juvenile,first to be arrested on Thursday night: He picked up dinner at a roadside stall in Agripada and went home at Dhobhi Ghat. From about 9 pm,he watched TV for an hour. Unknown to him,a 10-year-old neighbour had confirmed his sketch and told the police he was home. He was picked up,and shown as arrested at 11 am on Friday. He gave police the identities of the other four,which were then confirmed by other informers.

VIJAY JADHAV,18: After the incident,he hung around the N M Joshi police station,and had tea outside. At some point in the evening,he allegedly went to have a drink at a bar in Govandi. He called his friend Mohammed Salim Ansari,27,and they spent the night at Machhimar Market in Currey Road. On Friday afternoon,the duo watched a film at Maratha Mandir before splitting. Soon afterward,he seemed to have realised that one of the accused had been arrested,and he made a dash to a friend’s video parlour at Madanpura. His took care to switch off his phone,but made the mistake of switching it on to check for texts later that night. That gave away his location,and at 3 am,the Crime Branch swooped.

SIRAJ REHMAN,23: He was at home at Dhobhi talao when a friend called him to Nariman Point. They were roaming Marine Drive at 2 am,when a police patrol accosted them and told them to go home because there had been a rape nearby. A police team tracked him to his sister’s home in Mumbra with the help of the same informer who had led another police team to Jadhav.

QASIM SHEIKH,21: He went home,asked his mother for dinner and after changing his shirt,sat watching cartoons on TV. But he was someone whom the police suspected immediately,and they called him. Qasim got suspicious,switched off his phone,and fled to Madanpura. The next morning,he went to Kamathipura,and then to Virar in the afternoon,before returning to Kamathipura and visiting Chor Bazaar to buy clothes,police said.

At 5 pm on Saturday,he was spotted in Kamathipura. Some gamblers in Shuklaji Street told police he had lost Rs 900 and left. At 8.30 pm,police got information that Qasim was in Mumbai Central,and launched a massive hunt for him. They arranged bikes for each of the men he had gambled with,and rode up and down from Nariman Point to Girgaum Chowpatty,to Nagpada,JJ Marg and Pydhonie for three hours,sources said. Another team fanned out across Reay Road,Byculla and Mumbai Central railway station. At Nair Hospital,they checked each individual. “Around 4 am,we found him sleeping on the terrace,” said a source.

SALIM ANSARI,27: He was with Jadhav until Friday afternoon. He then went towards his home,but ran into some police officers who asked him for directions to his house. Ansari went straight to Kurla station and caught a train to Delhi. Police tracked Ansari after he rang a close relative whom they had picked up. Ansari told the relative he was headed to another relative’s home in Delhi. He was picked up at 7 am on Sunday.

Cops on lookout for ‘ragpicker’ witness

After arresting all five suspects for the gangrape of a photojournalist,the city police’s Crime Branch is now hunting for a ragpicker who could have witnessed the crime.

“Investigations so far indicate that a ragpicker had passed by the scene of the crime while the gangrape was underway. We are trying to identify him and see if he can be a witness in our case,” a crime branch officer said.

The photojournalist’s male colleague,though present nearby,did not witness the crime as he was bound and restrained a short distance away.

Meanwhile,a four-member team from the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory in New Delhi reached Mumbai Monday to help with crime scene analysis.

“The team will be using a technique known as Rummaging to gather every bit of evidence,which includes pollen grains from the scene of the crime that can be matched with the pollen grains on the clothes of the victim and the suspects,” said a crime branch officer.

Mumbai Police Commissioner D R Satyapal Singh said a team from the CFSL in Gujarat would also be coming to Mumbai to provide assistance.

The five suspects were also subjected to a potency test on Monday at the J J Hospital so that they could not use impotency as a defence during the trial stage.

The police will take the suspects to Shakti Mills on Tuesday to reconstruct the crime sequence. Call data records are also being analysed to establish the locations of the suspects on the day and at the time of the crime,as well as the calls that they made to each other,the police said,adding they had also identified the person to whom Qasim Sheikh had sold off his phone.

Meanwhile,one of the phones which had the photograph of the victim,is now empty. Police believe the suspects deleted it. The phone has been sent to Kalina Forensic Laboratory to retrieve the image,Singh said.

The Crime Branch is also trying to retrieve the picture of the victim that suspect Salim Ansari allegedly took with his cellphone. “Ansari has said he took a picture of the victim after the crime was done,but deleted it later. We are trying to retrieve it,” said an officer.

Meanwhile,the police on Monday produced the fifth suspect,Mohammad Salim Ansari,before the metropolitan magistrate court,which sent him to police custody till September 5. Ansari,who had fled to Ashok Vihar in Delhi,was apprehended and brought to Mumbai on Sunday night.

Ansari,who did not have any lawyer to represent him,was produced before the court at 1pm. When asked if he had any complaints against the police,Ansari nodded in negative.

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