iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, September 05, 2013
The newly formed wing of the Mumbai police dedicated to tackling crimes against women has been roped in to investigate the Shakti Mill gangrape case. This is the first important case in which the Crime Against Women Cell (CAWC) has been involved after it was formed in March this year, following the Delhi gangrape and the murder of Pallavi Purkhayastha.

Deputy commissioner of police, detection, Satya Narayan Chaudhary confirmed that the CAWC has been authorised to assist in the investigation. “A women officer from the CAWC has been assigned to assist the investigating officer of the case. She is helping in every aspect of the probe,” he said.

The officer assigned from the cell, police sub-inspector Priyanka Mhatre will directly report to inspector P Dhanawade of the crime branch unit III, which is investigating the case.

Explaining her role, Chaudhary said she has mainly been given the responsibility of recording statement of the survivor and others close to her. “The survivor or other witnesses, especially women, may feel more comfortable talking to a woman,” he said.

Simultaneously, Mhatre is also helping the IO collect material evidence in the case and interacting with the various forensic laboratories that are helping the police provide scientific evidence that will bolster the case against the five accused.

Mhatre said the process of recording the survivor’s statement is almost complete. “We are not disturbing her and recording her statement at her convenience. She is doing fine and helping us whenever required,” she said, while refusing to speak any further.