The Mumbai police on Friday released sketches of the five accused in the shocking gang rape of a 23-year-old photojournalist in the heart of the city and have picked up about 20 people for questioning, besides fanning out teams across the city to track the culprits.
A day after the photojournalist, who was working as an intern with an English magazine, was gang raped allegedly by five men, a special squad has been formed by the local police as well as by the Crime Branch to probe the case.
"We have taken the case very seriously and are working on it on a war-footing. We have activated all our informers and at the same time released sketches of the five accused. We hope to catch the accused soon," said a police official.
The sketches have been prepared on the basis of the description provided by the victim's male colleague, who was tied up by the accused before they sexually assaulted the woman.
The woman was allegedly gang raped by five men at around 8 pm on Thursday near Shakti Mills in the Lower Parel area of the metropolis.
The victim was on an assignment, doing a story on the city’s 'chawls' when the offence took place, the police said.
In a chilling reminder of the December gang rape in Delhi, the men tied up the victim's friend and raped the woman.
The accused were apparently in 24 to 30 years age group.
The police are likely to parade about 20 suspects, who have been picked up in connection with the case, before the male colleague of the victim for identification, sources said.
Earlier, the police said they have picked up about 20 people for questioning but have obtained no leads in the case so far.
In a statement given to the police, the girl said the five men were present in the Shakti Mills compound and started making lewd remarks and harassing her. When her friend intervened, two of them assaulted him. Three others took her inside the dilapidated structure and raped her.
The victim has been admitted to Jaslok Hospital. Preliminary reports suggested that she sustained multiple internal injuries, they said.
Dr Taran Gyanchandani, acting CEO of the hospital, said, "We are doing the needful...she is under strict observation."
A gang rape case has been registered in N M Joshi Marg police station.
The statement of the victim's friend has been recorded, the police said.
They claimed the victim has identified two of the accused by their names. She told the police that two of them were calling each other as ‘Rupesh’ and ‘Sajid’, they said, adding that some drug addicts have been picked up from the area for questioning.
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil meanwhile visited the victim at Jaslok hospital.
"This is a very serious matter. We have taken note of it. The accused will be arrested soon," Patil told reporters outside the hospital.
He said Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh has been directed to ensure that the culprits are arrested soon.