(Trigger Warning: Mentions of rape, sexual assault)
The fourth accused in the Hyderabad gang rape case, who is a teenager has been taken into custody, the city police said on Sunday, 5 June.
Earlier on Saturday, the police had made two arrests in the case for allegedly raping a minor. Both the arrested are minors, and one is the son of an influential public figure.
The had arrested one person in the case, identified as Saduddin Malik, on Friday evening.
The fifth accused, identified as Umair Khan, is still absconding.
A group of young men had allegedly raped a minor girl inside an Innova car in Hyderabad on Saturday, 28 May. The incident took place while the 17-year-old girl was returning from a party at a pub in Jubilee Hills. The accused had offered to drop the girl home in their car, as per the police. While returning, they allegedly parked the car and raped her.
The police said that of the five people identified, three are minors, while the other two are 18-year-olds.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Raghunandan Rao has released photographs of one minor boy kissing the survivor, alleging that he is the son of an MLA. However, the police had denied the involvement of the MLA’s son in a press meet held on Friday.
While the girl had initially not reported the incident to her family, since she had visible injuries on her neck from the assault, her father lodged a complaint at the Jubilee Hills police station.
As per the complaint, the minor had gone to the party on the afternoon of 28 May. Around 5.30 pm, a few men escorted her out of there and asked her to sit inside a red Mercedes, The News Minute reported.
The police are also probing CCTV footage in connection with the incident, which apparently shows the girl leaving with a group of boys between 5 pm and 6 pm.
The police also said that the group went to a pastry shop after leaving the pub, as per NDTV.
"Later on, they misbehaved with my daughter and even inflicted minor injuries over her neck. Since then my daughter is in deep shock and unable to disclose the things exactly," the father's initial complaint stated.
The police on 31 May booked a case for "outraging the modesty of a woman" and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. After the survivor reported the sexual assault to the medical officer, the charge of rape was added to the case.
The accused were also charged under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.
NCPCR Demands Explanation From Police
The National Council for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the Hyderabad police to provide an explanation over the delay in the registration of an FIR for the case.
The NCPCR has also sought the registration of an FIR against a city pub for allowing entry to minors.
In a letter to the Hyderabad police, the NCPCR wrote: "The Commission has observed that since the incident allegedly/reportedly took place on 28.05.2022 (Saturday), the FIR in the said incident has been lodged on 31.05.2022, i.e. after three days of the incident."
"The delay in registering the FIR in the matter is a matter of concern. Reasons thereof may be furnished and action against the concerned errant official should also be taken and appraised to the Commission," the letter read.
The apex child rights body added that the police should ensure that the victim's identity should not be revealed during the investigation.
"Therefore, the Commission is of the view that an FIR should also be lodged against the said pub authorities and action taken thereof be informed," letter from the NCPCR said.
The authority also asked the Hyderabad police to file a detailed case report from the date of receipt of the letter, which should include age proof of minor victims, real and legible copy of the FIR, copies of victim statements, copy of charge sheet, the action taken against the accused and the status of the investigation.
Telangana Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali said that the arrest was delayed because of the presence of a minor, but the police "works strictly," news agency ANI reported.
The minister added that the police is taking action according to the complaint with no leniency. "Telangana Police works without pressure & doesn't spare culprits," he said.
(Update: An earlier version of this story said that the survivor was raped inside a Mercedes car. The story has been updated based on information from the police that the accused molested the survivor in the Mercedes and later raped her in an Innova.)
(With inputs from ANI, NDTV and The News Minute.)