A posse of 380 undercover policemen armed with AK-47s and bulletproof vests crept into a nondescript village in Haryana late on Wednesday night. Merging with the shadows, the policemen, split into 20 teams to cover all exits, were looking for the men accused of raping a 30-year-old call centre employee in south Delhi’s Dhaula Kuan on November 24.
After six hours, the raid at Dhaujj village in Mewat region, 50 km from Delhi, yielded two of the five accused — Shamshad alias Khutkan (25) and Usman alias Kale (25). Both are under arrest. Usman was out on bail in a 2007 gangrape case in Faridabad. To evade arrest in the rape case, a third accused — Shahid alias Chota Billi (25) — had surrendered to a Haryana court last week in a cow slaughter case. Two are absconding.
Dominated by the Meo community, Mewat is one of the most backward districts of Haryana, where acute poverty leads to frequent cattle theft and truck-lifting. The police are known to keep away since those who have visited the region often ended up with bloodied noses and fractured bones.
On November 29, HT had reported that for fear of a violent backlash, Delhi Police had gone undercover in the area.
This time, taking no chances, 60 armed policemen were sent just to recover the pick-up van used in the crime, which was hidden in Tikri Kalan village.
"On the day of the crime, the five men — all from Dhaujj village — had come to Delhi to steal cattle.
"They were drunk and while returning, saw the BPO cab with the two women. They tailed it and as soon as the women got down, they abducted one at gunpoint while the other escaped,” said DCP (south) HGS Dhaliwal.
The five then allegedly raped the victim in their tempo, dumping her 40 minutes later in a Mongolpuri lane.
Grappling for clues, the police latched on to the bundle of R10 notes the accused left behind. "We were sure these people entered the city through a border area after we found the bundle of notes tied with a rubber band that they left with the victim, so she could get home.
"Through technical surveillance and human intelligence, it was found that three groups from Mewat were active in the city that day on the same route. We sent one of our head constables from the area to gather information and finally sent a team on Wednesday night to arrest them,” said the officer.