Purulia Rape Case: Accused Who Had Inserted Needles Arrested in UP
A three-year-old girl who was raped died on 21 July, days after seven needles were removed from her body. 
A three-year-old girl who was raped died on 21 July, days after seven needles were removed from her body. (Photo: Lijumol Joseph/The Quint)

Purulia Rape Case: Accused Who Had Inserted Needles Arrested in UP

Sanatan Thakur alias Goswami has been arrested, almost two weeks after he raped and inserted needles

, TheCops have finally managed to arrest 62-year-old , who has been accused of inserting needles into the body of a three-year old girl, eventually leading to her death on 21 July. He allegedly physically assaulted the girl and performed witchcraft on her.

The incident had come to light on 11 July, when the girl's mother had taken her daughter to Bankura medical college and hospital after complain of cough and cold.

Sanatan was nabbed from Pipri, a small town in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh bordering Bihar and Jharkhand. He had been hiding there under the guise of a sadhu.

Sanatan Goswami, the accused.
Sanatan Goswami, the accused.
(Photo: G Singh/The Quint)

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Charges of Murder and Criminal Conspiracy

According to senior police officers, a strong vigil was kept on him after a tip-off that a stranger had been found roaming in the town for the past few days.

We had already alerted our counterparts in neighbouring states and had also sent his photo. The cops were informed about a sadhu who had recently come to the area. They began keeping an eye on him. Even our men were posted in Mufti, in the area where the sadhu was seen. They followed him for a few days before confirming that he was the person whom we were looking for. We then arrested him
Joy Biswas, SP, Purulia

Biswas added that the accused has been booked under the charges of murder and criminal conspiracy.

Sources said that Sanatan was arrested on 28 July, but cops disclosed it only after confirming his identity.

The SP said that he would be taken to Purulia for further investigation on 1 August, with the local court granting a transit remand of six days.

He could be interrogated face-to-face with the girl’s mother, who is already behind bars, said a police officer requesting anonymity.

Sources said Sanatan had reportedly married the victim's mother three months ago and were staying as a couple under one roof. He didn't allow the woman to keep any contact with the neighbours, added the sources.

Brutal Murder

The three-year-old rape victim, from whose body seven needles were removed last week, died at a Kolkata hospital on 21 July. Doctors at Kolkata’s SSKM hospital said the toddler died of the infection caused by the iron needles that were inserted into her body.

The horrific case came to light on 15 July, when the girl was brought to the Bankura Medical College for her cough and cold. Doctors found multiple injuries on her body, including those caused by the needles, and referred the toddler to SSKM Kolkata.

Dr Rishavdeb Patra, the surgeon who was treating the girl, said she died at around 3am.

She had developed infection because of the needles inside her body. She suffered from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) that leads to severe bleeding caused by an injury to the head and chest. She was finding it difficult to have a normal breathing since Thursday morning and her condition worsened as hours passed by. We tried our best but she couldn’t survive.
The needles removed from the body of the three-year-old.
The needles removed from the body of the three-year-old.
(Photo: G Singh/The Quint)

“It nearly took us two hours to perform the surgery as the priority was to take out the needles without harming her vital organs,” Dr Patra said.

We took time as the affected portions where the needles were present were first localised to prevent any mistakes during the surgery.
Dr Rishavdeb Patra, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata
X-ray of the three-year-old shows needles inside her body.
X-ray of the three-year-old shows needles inside her body.
(Photo: G Singh/The Quint)

Accused Used to Practise Witchcraft

Police sources said Sanatan Goswami sexually assaulted the girl and forced needles into her body, including her private parts. The time period of the crime has not been ascertained.

Prima facie, we have come to know that the accused is a retired home guard from the state police though the records are being checked for verification. We have registered a case against him under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.
Joy Biswas, Superintendent of Police (SP), Purulia

Sources, however, claimed that the accused used to torture the child with needles as a part of witchcraft.

Police officials said that Sanatan kept to himself since the death of his wife. “He was not in touch even with his children. He kept to himself after his wife’s death. We have found the posters of different god and goddess leading us to suspect that he was involved in occult practises,” said a police officer requesting anonymity.

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Mother’s Role Under the Scanner

The girl’s mother worked as a domestic help at the house of the accused at Nadiara village in Purulia district. She lived alone after being deserted by her husband.

“The girl’s mother was working as a maid servant in the same house where her daughter was being so brutality assaulted. It seems strange that she didn’t raise an alarm and complained to the police,” the police officer said.

Also Read: This Woman Stays Up All Night to Protect Granddaughters From Rape

(The writer is a Kolkata-based freelance journalist.)

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