How many children have fallen victim to the alleged serial rapist who has been held in east Delhi? Is it 13, or 60, or 500, or 1000?
Delhi Police have yet to ascertain the number of girls the 38-year-old suspect abused in the last 13 years in the national capital, officials said on Monday.
Police said Sunil Rastogi, a tailor who belongs to Rampur in Uttar Pradesh and nabbed in Kalyanpuri on Saturday, had been allegedly preying on schoolgirls since 2004.
Speculation over the number of victims began as Rastogi first confessed to raping at least 13 girls but then kept changing his statement saying he sexually assaulted 60 minors.
Police also suspect the number of victims could be more, as Rastogi, who has five children, including two girls, frequently visited Delhi. He also has cases against him in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“People have started making their own calculations taking a lead from Rastogi’s statement. He said that he used to visit Delhi at least twice a month for the past 13 years. So, it has been assumed that if he molested even one girl per visit, it would come to 312 victims. However, in his statement he has only confessed to having victimised 60 minors,” a police officer explained.
Rastogi, a school dropout, has reportedly given a list of 60 locations to the police where he assaulted the minors. While there are only six cases registered against him in the past, police suspect that he had raped more girls who did not come forth to file a complaint.
Police said he allegedly threatened them with dire consequences and blackmailed them which prevented them from filing a complaint.
Rastogi used to prowl schools in the Capital between 2pm and 4pm when schools shut for the day and carried a list of girl schools in his pocket. He would follow a group for a short distance and then pick a child who would stray from others.
He would tell the victim he was a friend of her father’s who had sent clothes and snacks. For every victim, he would stitch a new set of clothes and wrap a new parcel.
“He would tell the child he had more presents for her and would take her with him and sexually assault her,” a police source said.
During another round of questioning, Rastogi told the police that he does not remember the number of girls he raped very clearly as he randomly scouted for them. But he told the police was that he travelled to Delhi at least twice a month for the purpose.
“How many girls he victimised will be clear once we complete the questioning and verify all his claims,” deputy commissioner of police (east) Omvir Singh said.
“We do not know where the bizarre numbers are coming from. During his questioning, he said that he assaulted 60 girls and has also given us the location of the crime. We, however, need to verify his claims. The questioning is on and his statement is not consistent. We are on the job,” an investigator told HT.
According to police, Rastogi came to Delhi in 1990 with his family and left in 2004.
“He resides in Rudrapur now ... He is being interrogated regarding other offences committed by him at different places,” an officer said.