Hyderabad Gang Rape Case: One Arrested, Police Refute BJP's Claim
The police said that the MLA’s son, who was being named by the BJP, was not connected to the alleged crime.
(Trigger Warning: Mentions of rape, sexual assault)
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 out of the five people identified, three are minors, while the other two are 18-year-olds. The incident took place while the 17-year-old girl was returning from a party at a pub in Jubilee Hills.
Joel Davis, West Zone DCP, said, "Victim couldn’t reveal anything about culprits. She only revealed one name and special teams were immediately formed to nab them. CCTV footage recovered. We've identified five culprits as per CCTV footage and as per the statement of the victim."
Davis also pointed out that during the course of the investigation, it was established that the MLA's son, who the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had accused of committing the crime, was not connected to the alleged gang rape.
He added that one of the accused, a minor, was the son of a 'VIP' and that the police would apprehend him tomorrow.
"For one juvenile in conflict with law, we could get specific lead. Because of nighttime, we could not apprehend him, I'm hopeful that we will be able to apprehend him tomorrow. He is the son of a VIP," he said.
The police added that of the three minors, one was the son of the head of a religious board based in Hyderabad, and another was the son of a corporator.
BJP's Allegation That MLA's Son Is Involved Is Baseless: Police
Meanwhile, Telangana's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit held protests outside a police station over the incident.
The party alleged that one of the accused in the case was the son of an MLA from a political party, while the other one was the son of the chairman of a minority board.
"BJP strongly condemns the horrendous incident of gang rape of a minor girl in Hyderabad," the party said in a statement.
However, the police have clarified that the allegations against the MLA's son are "baseless."
Davis said, "There were a lot of allegations in the media on MLA's son. As per the statement of the victim, CDR analysis, and the CCTV footage, he was not among those five. We are still investigating for further evidence."
He added, "The allegation that the home minister's son-in-law is involved is baseless."
Though the girl had initially not reported the incident to her family, because 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. At 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.
On the other hand, the manager of Insomnia Pub, where the minor had allegedly met the accused, said that nothing could have happened in the pub as there was security, and added that whatever happened took place outside its premises.
"Police are asking us what exactly happened inside, whether anyone misbehaved with the girl. We provide security inside the premises, nothing can happen inside. The incident happened after they made her sit in their car outside," the pub's manager Sai Kiran was quoted as saying by ANI.
The police are also investigating why minors were allowed in the pub, and whether they were given alcohol. The manager, however, said that no one was permitted to drink or smoke during the party, NDTV reported.
Accused Charged Under POCSO Act
Following a complaint by the girl's father, 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.
"We had to do a background investigation, and technical and footage analysis. We are in the process of identifying and apprehending the accused persons," the DCP said.
Telangana BJP Holds Protest Outside Police Station
Meanwhile, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Telangana unit held a protest outside the Jubilee Hills police station against the rape of the minor. Additional security forces were also deployed at the site, as per news agency ANI.
On the other hand, the working president of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) KT Rama Rao took to Twitter to say that he was "outraged" over the news of the rape, and urged the state's home minister and senior police officials to take action.
"Please don’t spare anyone involved irrespective of their statuses or affiliations," he tweeted.
(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 The News Minute, ANI, and NDTV.)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.