Rapists robbed a man before picking up victim and friend; 4 held, 2 on the run

Rapists robbed a man before picking up victim and friend
THE Delhi Police Tuesday held two more persons for the gangrape of a 23-year-old in a moving bus in Delhi, taking the total number of arrests in the case to four. Two others are absconding and the police have sent teams to Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to catch them.

Police said all the accused knew each other, had consumed alcohol on the bus, and were out on a "joyride" after running out of liquor when they picked up the couple, later raping and torturing the woman and assaulting her friend. They said the accused had also robbed a carpenter after giving him a lift on the bus shortly before they picked up the couple.

The police have registered a case of attempted murder, gangrape, unnatural sex, kidnapping, wrongful confinement and robbery.

The woman's condition continues to be critical, with a sharp drop in her platelet count indicating the start of severe infection. While she showed slight improvement on Tuesday morning, and wrote notes to communicate, she took a turn for the worse by the afternoon. Doctors have increased ventilator support.

One of the accused, Ram Singh, was produced in court and sent in five-day police custody. The police said they needed Singh's custody to help catch "two or three remaining accused" as well as to recover the mobile phones and ATM cards of the victims which remain missing. The police will also ask him to identify the clothes he was wearing at the time of the alleged assault.

Singh refused to undergo a Test Identification Parade on Tuesday.

The other accused who have been arrested include Ram Singh's brother Mukesh, an assistant gym instructor at the Siri Fort Sports Complex called Vinay Sharma, and a fruit seller, Pawan Gupta. Mukesh was held from Rajasthan, while the other three were arrested from Delhi. The four will be produced in court Wednesday morning. All four who are between the ages of 20 and 30 live in the same slum colony of R K Puram Sector 3 in south Delhi. While Ram Singh was the driver of the bus, the vehicle was allegedly being driven by Mukesh at the time of the incident.

Those absconding have been identified as Akshay Thakur, a resident of Aurangabad, Bihar, and Raju. Both work as cleaners.

The woman was raped and tortured with an iron rod and blades while her 28-year-old engineer friend who works for HCL was beaten and stripped, before both were thrown off the chartered bus on NH-8 near south Delhi.

According to the police, the assault followed an altercation between the couple and the accused. One of the accused reportedly passed a lewd remark, asking the woman's friend what he was doing with her that late at night. The friend protested and hit the accused. When they started assaulting her friend, the woman put up stiff resistance, hitting them. This allegedly enraged the accused, who decided to teach her a lesson. They allegedly knocked her friend conscious and dragging the woman to the rear of the bus, took turns raping her.

Just prior to the incident, the accused allegedly robbed a carpenter identified as Ram Aadhar, whom they had offered a lift from the R K Puram Subzi Mandi. They dropped him at the IIT-Delhi gate around 8.30 pm after which they reached Munirka and picked up the couple.

After allegedly throwing the couple off the bus, Ram Singh and Vinay Sharma dropped the other accused at R K Puram before taking the bus to the owner's place in Noida. There, the police said, Singh washed the bus in a bid to destroy evidence. The next morning, he allegedly returned to R K Puram, while his accomplices went about their daily routine. He then set out for Noida to get the bus for duty.

In the meantime, the Delhi Police had managed to zero in on the owner of the bus, Dinesh Yadav, who identified the bus as his. The victim's friend apparently gave enough clues to help locate the bus, including that it had yellow curtains, red seats, had Yadav written on the side and was a luxury bus. As soon as Singh arrived at R K Puram with the bus, the Delhi Police apprehended him. The rest were identified on Singh's interrogation.

While the bus had been washed, the police said they were able to pick up enough forensic evidence, such as nail scratchings, DNA, hair.

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said the driver of the chartered bus, which was primarily a school bus, was using it for commercial purposes illegally.

He also said that the Delhi Police will seek a fast-track trial in the gangrape case, with daily hearing, so that the accused are punished at the earliest.

While the maximum punishment for this crime is life sentence, the Commissioner added, the Delhi Police will send a proposal for death sentence to the government, given calls for the same.

While doctors have done their best to repair the victim's intestinal injuries, they are concerned about infection. According to Dr B D Athani, Medical Superintendent, Safdarjung Hospital: "In the morning she was drifting in and out of consciousness, and even communicating with us through handwritten notes. By evening however, her blood platelet count dropped and her blood pressure was extremely high."

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