Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh told a press conference the four remaining suspects in the “horrific” assault on the woman had been indentified and would be arrested soon. As many as 20 teams have been formed to catch the culprits.
Out on an assignment, the 22-year old photojournalist was gangraped by the five men, who badly beat up and tied up her male colleague in a deserted south-central Mumbai factory on Thursday evening. The crime happened at around 8pm on Thursday near Shakti Mills in Lower Parel when the journalists were doing a story on ‘chawls’ (old residential buildings).
Singh said two men first accosted the journalists and they later called in three other men to the factory.
A senior Mumbai police official had earlier told Hindustan Times the five suspects had been detained on Friday morning for the crime but Singh’s statement contradicts this. Earlier, sketches of the five suspects were prepared on the basis of the description provided by the victim’s male colleague, who was tied up by the accused before they assaulted the woman. The accused are apparently in the 24 to 30 years age group.
In a chilling reminder of the December gangrape in Delhi, the men tied up the victim’s friend and raped the woman. Earlier, police said they had picked up about 20 people for questioning.
In a statement given to police, the girl said the five goons were present in the Shakti Mills compound. They started making lewd remarks and harassed her. When her friend intervened, two of them assaulted him. Three others took her inside the dilapidated structure and raped her.
“After the duo clicked photos for around half an hour, two youths emerged there and asked if they had valid permission for clicking photos. Then they offered to take them to the right authority. Three more joined the two youths and in the process separated the journalists. While the hand and legs of the male colleague were tied and he was gagged, the accused raped the girl,” said Vinayak Deshmukh, deputy commissioner of police, Zone III.
The victim has been admitted to Jaslok Hospital. Preliminary reports suggest she has multiple internal injuries.
Dr Taran Gyanchandani, acting CEO of the hospital, said, “We are doing the needful…she is under strict observation.” A gangrape case has been registered in NM Joshi Marg police station.
The statement of the victim’s friend has been recorded, police said.
They claimed the victim has identified two of the accused by their names. She told police that two of them were calling each other as Rupesh and Sajid, they said, adding that some drug addicts have been picked up from the area for questioning.
Maharashtra home minister RR Patil had visited the victim at Jaslok hospital.
“This is a very serious matter. We have taken note of it. The accused will be arrested soon,” Patil told reporters outside the hospital.
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