With the Home Ministry breathing down their backs, the several specially constituted teams are working round the clock to crack the kidnap and rape of a woman hailing from northeast India.
One of the 15 specially constituted police teams has picked up a Mahindra pick-up from outer Delhi and police suspect this is the vehicle in which the 30-year-old BPO employee was gangraped by five men last week. But this very well could be a false lead, for the other teams working on the case have identified 80 other Mahindra pick-ups in and around the capital.
The Mahindra pick-up, which has been kept at Vasant Kunj police station for now, belongs to man hailing from Mangolpuri, who reportedly has a criminal record.
According to investigating officials, 80 other Mahindra pick-ups have been identified in the case. Of these four vehicles are under the scanner because their owners have criminal backgrounds, officials said.
According to the FIR in the case, the 30-year-old woman, hailing from Mizoram was dropped on the Ring Road at about 1.10 am by her cab driver on November 24. According to the cab driver's statement to the police, he had dropped her there on her own instructions. The victim was walking to her house in Moti Village with a friend, when three men stopped them at what looked like gun.
"In her statement, the victim told us that three men pointed something at her that looked like a gun. As they screamed, the men dragged the victim into a vehicle, which on basis of an eyewitness account, we have established as a Mahindra pick-up truck. They dumped her in the back, where two other men were sitting. They confiscated her cell phones and drove to an isolated spot near Dhaula Kuan before blindfolding her. They stopped and took turns in raping her. She was finally dumped in Mangolpuri area. Thankfully, she had one of her cell phones, which she used to call her friend, who by then had already called the Police Control Room," a senior police officer, involved in the investigations told rediff.com.
Several police motorcycles and PCR vans tried to trace the vehicle from the spot the victim was dropped at, but were unsuccessful. The brave woman declined the police's offer of being taken to her hometown and insisted on staying on and helping them
Talking about the accused, the victim told police that they spoke in Hindi with an Haryanvi accent. They spoke in Hindi to each other and never once uttered each others' names, police said. The victim told police that they were all in their early 20s. As she continued crying after being raped atleast , one of the accused even tried to calm her down by patting on her back and assuring her in Hindi that they would not kill her and would drop her somewhere "safe", a police official said.
As the woman was blindfolded, she could not give a proper description of the accused, to the police. On the basis of her friend's description, police made the sketches of three of the accused, which they showed to the victim. The sketches have been published in all leading newspapers and faxed to all the police stations in Delhi.
The police's first attempt was to trace the accused with the help of three CCTV footages in Dhaula Kuan area. Images secured from this did show the vehicle, but were not clear enough to establish its make.
"The images were very grainy, because of which we could not make out the faces of the accused or even the make of the car. We then placed the mobile-phones that were used in the area on the night under surveillance. We are tracking all of them. The investigations will have to be scientific as there are several hundred phones that were in use on that night in the area," a senior police official said.
After the victim told police that her rapists appeared to be from the labour class, police identified some 1000 laborers working in factories in and around Mangolpuri area. Close to 500 of them have been questioned, police said.
"We are in the process of declaring a cash reward of Rs. 1 lakh to anyone who can lead us to the accused. We have detained four relevant suspects in the case and are questioning them. The case investigations are in full progress. We cannot share any more details at this point," Deputy Commissioner of Police (south Delhi), HGS Dhaliwal said.