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Mumbai Police cracks photojournalist's gang rape case, 1 held

Last updated on: August 23, 2013 19:35 IST

Image: Policemen stand guard near the crime scene where a photo journalist was gang-raped inside an abandoned textile mill in Mumbai.
Photographs: Danish Siddique/Reuters

Acting swiftly, Mumbai Police on Friday cracked the gang rape case of a young photojournalist, arresting one of the accused within 24 hours of the incident and identifying four others, including two criminals, for whom a massive manhunt has been launched.

"We have arrested one of the accused who has named the others involved in the incident. The accused has also confessed to the crime," Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh told reporters.

An earlier report attributed to the police had said two accused had been arrested. Senior Congress leader Murli Deora said five suspects have been arrested. "This case has been cracked. Five persons have been arrested and are in the lock-up," he had earlier told reporters.

Singh said more than 20 teams, including 10 from the Crime Branch, have been pressed into service to track down the perpetrators.

Mumbai Police cracks photojournalist's gang rape case, 1 held

Image: Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh addresses a news conference ob the gang-rape on Friday
Photographs: Danish Siddique/Reuters

The city police chief declined to divulge the identities of the accused lest the probe in the "extremely sensitive" case gets compromised but said two of them were history sheeters with property offences registered against them.

Asked about the condition of the victim, 23, an intern with an English magazine, he said she was "composed and stable".

The victim has been admitted to Jaslok Hospital. Preliminary reports suggested that she sustained multiple internal injuries.

A statement from the hospital said, "The patient is with us after the unfortunate incident since last night. As of now, she is stable and Jaslok Hospital is doing its best."


Mumbai Police cracks photojournalist's gang rape case, 1 held

Image: A general view of the abandoned textile mill in Mumbai
Photographs: Danish Siddique/Reuters

Tarang Gianchandani, acting CEO and director-medical services of the hospital, said, "We are doing the needful...she is under strict observation."

Singh said a forensic team has also been pressed into service.

He said the police are trying to gather "clinching evidence" to ensure that the culprits get maximum punishment for the "shocking crime".

The government, he said, would be requested for the case to be tried by a fast track court.

"The incident happened around 6 pm to 6.30 pm when the girl and her colleague had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound for a photo shoot," said Singh.      

He said the accused are in the age group of 20 to 22 years and are said to be residing in the nearby localities.

Singh said the quick arrest of one of the accused was facilitated by the statement of the victim's colleague, who was present at the scene of the crime.


Mumbai Police cracks photojournalist's gang rape case, 1 held

Image: The sketches of the five accused released by Mumbai Police on Friday

The "near perfect" sketches of the perpetrators were prepared on the basis of his statement that helped nab one of them, he said.

Giving details, the officer said the incident occurred around 6 pm last evening when the victim and her colleague had gone to the desolate Shakti Mills compound for taking photos.

The accused approached them and one of them told the victim's friend that he was responsible for a murder that had taken place in the area a few days ago.

When the victim's colleague said he had visited the place for the first time, the accused phoned an accomplice, who too arrived soon and said he also suspected that the photojournalist's colleague was the man who had committed the murder.

In a chilling reminder of the December gang rape in Delhi, the men tied up the victim's friend and raped the woman after taking her to a nearby thicket on the pretext of "examining" her about the murder. A 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gang raped by six men inside a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, last year. The victim died in a Singapore Hospital on December 29.

Mumbai Police cracks photojournalist's gang rape case, 1 held

Image: A policeman stands guard near the crime scene in Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters

He said the girl was admitted to hospital around 8 pm and police came to know about the incident around 8.30 pm.

Singh said police would soon issue necessary instructions to owners of deserted compounds to put up warnings against trespassers.

In Delhi, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said he had spoken to the Mumbai police commissioner over the case.

The incident triggered strong reactions from opposition parties which demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil.

Patil, who visited the Jaslok Hospital to inquire about the condition of the victim, expressed confidence that other perpetrators would also be nabbed soon.

"We have taken the incident very seriously. No one will be allowed to spoil the law and order situation," he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters in Aurangabad that it was not proper for opposition parties to demand Patil's resignation.



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