Three years of sustained surveillance, search through databases of criminals who are in jail or were released from jails across north India, door-to-door search and analysis of CCTV footage finally led the police to Sunil Rastogi, an alleged rapist of minor girls.
It started in 2013, when the local police in New Ashok Nagar received two complaints of two minor girls being molested in a strikingly similar fashion.
In both the cases, the minors alleged that the man who assaulted them wore a red jacket, a blue jeans and lured them with the promise of new clothes. They also said that the assaulter had laughed when they begged him to spare them.
The police accessed the CCTV footage from the area where Rastogi had allegedly assaulted the girls. Though the police got some clues from the footage, they were not enough to identify him. “We only got shots of his back and side. His face was not clearly seen in the video. We tried to fine tune the footage but it did not help,” a police source said.
The police questioned vendors, shopkeepers and rickshaw pullers who claimed to have seen a man of similar description in the area. “With the help of the footage, the description given by the local residents and minor victims, we got a sketch made. A door to door search was then initiated. Our men took the sketch around east Delhi but got no leads,” a police officer said.
The investigators accessed the jail papers from across north India, which had the details of both convicts and under trials. The police also looked for men who were arrested in the last one year for assaulting minors from across north India.
“We finalised a list of around 100 suspects. We matched the sketch that we had with their photos or sketches and zeroed-in-on three suspects. We took their addresses from the papers and took the probe forward,” a police source said.
- December 24: A 60-year-old auto-rickshaw driver attempts to rape a 10-year-old girl in east Delhi’s Geeta Colony. The man had made a similar attempt on the same girl three months ago
- December 16: Two men allegedly kidnap a 13-year-old girl from outside her house in northeast Delhi’s Khajoori Khas, take her to a nearby shop and attempt to gang-rape her. A local resident sees the two men entering the shop with the girl and informs her family members, who are already looking for her in the locality.
- November 21: A four-year-old girl in northwest Delhi’s Keshav Puram is found murdered near her house. Police suspect sexual assault. They recover a CCTV footage that shows her neighbour carrying her into the bushes near her house.
- September 3: An eleven-monthold baby is abducted and raped by her neighbour in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri.
- July 25: A 4-year-old girl is allegedly kidnapped and raped by her 28-year-old neighbour in outer Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy. She suffers injuries in her private parts and is admitted to a government hospital. The accused, Junaid, has been arrested.
- July 23: A 14-year-old Dalit girl is allegedly raped several times by her neighbour and forced to drink a ‘corrosive substance’ that severely damages her internal organs in north Delhi’s Burari. The girl later succumbs to her injuries during treatment at hospital.
- May 25: A 13-year-old girl with Down Syndrome is admitted to AIIMS after she is kidnapped, brutally raped and dumped near the railway tracks allegedly by her neighbour in southeast Delhi’s Pul Prahladpur. She suffers bruises on her neck and abdomen.
The investigators sought help from the local intelligence assets to find if any of the three suspects had visited east Delhi during the days when the crime was committed. “After sustained efforts we were able to isolate Rastogi. Our network of informers also told us that he was seen in the area thrice in the past one week and also that he would be visiting Delhi again on Saturday. Following the input, a trap was laid and he was apprehended,” a police source told HT.
Police said Rastogi confessed to the crime during questioning. He told the police he was certain that he would never get caught.
“He seems to be mentally unstable as he has some very weird notions. He is superstitious and said that he came by Sampark Kranti Express only and cancelled his visit if he would to miss the train. He said his red jacket and blue jeans were lucky for him and he believed that if he abused girls wearing that, he would never get caught.”
Omvir Singh, DCP, (East) said, “He admitted his involvement in various other such cases in New Ashok Nagar, Ghaziabad and and Rudrapur in Uttarakhand. He revealed that whenever he found any minor girl going home from school, he used to approach her and the take her to an isolated spot.”