From using expertise of an Indian Institute of Technology professor to enhance the blurry closed circuit television footages to tracking a tempo with a Hindi word starting with 'M' written on its side panes -- it was a virtually a wild goose chase for the Delhi police while cracking the gangrape of a business processing unit employee.
"If we were late by a day or two in zeroing in on them, we would have lost the case," said a senior police official involved in the investigations of the case in which two youths were arrested from a Haryana village.
The Mizo woman was abducted by the gang of five around 1.10 am on November 24 while she was walking towards her rented accommodation in Moti village near Dhaula Kuan along with her colleague after being dropped by their office cab from their workplace in Gurgaon.
"We started blank as we did not have the vehicle number or the make of the vehicle. The CCTV footage was also blurred. Even the officials of an automobile manufacturer could not identify the make of the vehicle. It made our job a little bit difficult," the official said.
It was then police decided to involve an IIT professor to get the CCTV footage enhanced. "He was of great help. This led to a transport expert identifying the vehicle's make, which was of Mahindra pick-up van. The IIT professor had earlier worked on enhancing tapes of Al Qaeda," the official said.
A police control room call was made 20 minutes after the incident and a constable who reached the spot could not comprehend what the victim was speaking, as he was not proficient in English. "However, the constable left his other colleague there and followed the route taken by the accused," the police said.
Despite undergoing trauma, Delhi police commissioner B K Gupta said, the victim provided "unique features" about the vehicle used in the crime like a Hindi word in English starting with 'M' was written in a slanting manner on the window panes.
"After making various permutations and combinations, the most probable word came out to be Muskan," said H G S Dhaliwal, deputy commissioner of police (south).
The description of the vehicle given by the victim like flowery decoration, the probable word 'Muskan' written on the tempo and the Rs 10 denomination notes given by the criminals to the victim all gave a clue to police.
"The audacious way and professionalism in committing crime and the time of incident suggested that some desperate Mewati gangs might be involved in this crime. Particularly, the Rs 10 notes vertically folded with a rubber band pointed toward a few particular type of probable group of criminals. It was ascertained that currency notes of Rs 10 denomination are normally kept in bundles by Mewati criminals to pay toll tax," Gupta said.
The investigations then centered around Mewat and various teams verified the role of gangs and the movements of their members at the relevant time and found that two gangs were active during that night in the area of South Delhi, Dhaliwal said.
"Tempo stands and transporters who may be having or working on such type of vehicles were scanned. 338 workers and vendors were examined and verified. Three groups whose activities were found suspected were thoroughly questioned," Dhaliwal said.
A police team also focussed its investigations in Mongolpuri area where they checked on the local criminals who had been involved in such crimes and the persons who were using tempos particularly at night.
"Seventy two dossiers of criminals were scrutinised and 3,245 tempos of similar description given by the victim were checked in outer Delhi area and adjoining areas of Haryana. Around 110 industrial units and tent shops around the area where the victim was dropped was thoroughly checked to find out any possible clue," Dhaliwal said.
Hundred and five cases of gang rapes in national capital region in the past few years were thoroughly analysed and location of the offenders was also checked. Criminals, who were released on bail, involved in similar crimes were also interrogated.