India: Police apologise to suspects wrongly accused of raping girl

Hyderabad: Police Commissioner of Rachakonda, adjoining Hyderabad, Mahesh Bhagwat has tendered an apology to four auto drivers who were wrongly accused of gang raping a college student.

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He also thanked them for cooperating with the police in reaching a correct conclusion that the B Pharmacy student had cooked up a story to mislead her family and police.

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On Wednesday evening Rachakonda police received a complaint that a college girl was missing as she had not reached home at her usual time of 5:30pm. The complaint was lodged by the mother of the student at around 7pm as she was not getting any response on her mobile phone.

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Finally the girl responded to her mother’s calls at 7:20pm and the police could trace her at 7:50pm lying in a bush at Annojiguda in torn cloths and with an injury on her foot. As the girl appeared to be in a state of shock and trauma police did not take any statement from her immediately and sent her to hospital.

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Meanwhile the TV channels went to town with all sorts of stories about how a college girl was abducted and gang raped by auto drivers. They even showed the photos of the suspects.

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Technical data

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Next day she told the police patrol team that she was abducted by an auto driver with three others and gang raped. She said that after she got down from a bus and boarded a seven-seater auto to reach her home she was kidnapped by the driver and three others. On the way she was given an injection and then she shifted to a van and was raped. Police showed her photos of auto drivers who operate in the area and she identified one of them as the culprit.

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Police first booked a case of kidnapping against the suspects and later added the sections of rape to the case.

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Police believing her story took four suspects into custody for questioning. Instead of sending them to the jail right away, the police decided to probe the case scientifically and gathered the technical data.

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Police Commissioner Bhagwat said that police scanned the footage of 100 CCTV cameras and also gathered the details of the mobile tower locations of the girl as well as the suspects. This had become necessary as the auto drivers insisted that they were not in the area where the girl said the incident took place.

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“Technical evidence helped us in detecting the case and bringing out the truth and saved the future of the auto drivers from turning dark”, Bhagwat told a press conference.

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“Police have enough evidence to show that the student was not kidnapped. When her mother kept calling her, she cooked up the story of kidnapping but after learning that her mother had called the police, she added the rape element to make her story stick”, Bhagwat said.

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CCTV footage and mobile tower locations revealed that the girl had got down from the bus one stage before than usual and walked for four kms to reach Annojiguda. The footage of the spot showed that at Annojiguda she ran for some distance and fell down injuring her foot. When police reached the spot she was found with torn clothes.

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Strong displeasure

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On the reason and motive behind the girl fabricating the story, the commissioner said she had a tiff with the auto driver in the past and wanted to take revenge. “She also wanted to leave her home for some personal reasons”, he added.

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Police have decided to place the entire matter before the court to take proper action against the girl. The suspicion that some auto drivers were involved in the incident scared other auto drivers in the area and many of them locked their home and shifted to other places.

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Mahesh Bhagwat expressed his strong displeasure over the attitude of the media in reporting the incident. “Your irresponsible behavior created a lot of difficulties in the probe. How can you show the photos of suspects as being guilty without any confirmation by the police”, the commissioner asked the media.

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