A 20-year-old woman was allegedly raped in south Delhi’s Moti Bagh by a man posing as a cabbie early Thursday, showing little had changed in the Capital four years after the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old student shook India.
The woman got into a car at 9.30pm on Wednesday and was driven around for two hours before being allegedly raped by the driver in Moti Bagh after midnight, police said. She had come to the city in search of a job, they added.
She was waiting near Safdarjung Tomb for a bus to Noida when a man, identified as Avnish, pulled up in a Maruti Suzuki SX4 car with a home ministry sticker on the windscreen.
He posed as a cabbie and offered to drop her home for Rs 20 – the usual rate for shared cabs from the area to Noida -- officials said.
The driver then allegedly drove her around the city -- RK Puram, Chanakyapuri, India Gate and then back to Dhaula Kuan – and when the woman asked him about the roundabout route, he refused to answer.
“She alleged that the driver took her to a secluded spot in Moti Bagh and parked the car on one side. He then locked all the doors, overpowered her and raped her inside the car,” a police officer said.
The driver was arrested and reportedly confessed to the crime.
In another incident, a five-year-old girl was raped allegedly by her uncle in northeast Delhi’s Dilshad Garden. The crime came to light after the girl’s family brought her to Kalawati Hospital with injuries.
The cases are a bitter reminder of the night of December 16, 2012, when the physiotherapy student was brutally gang-raped by six men on a chartered bus that she had boarded after she failed to get an auto or a public bus from south Delhi’s Saket to Dwarka.
The crime triggered massive protests across the country as thousands of people demanded stricter laws and police patrolling to improve a shameful record of safety for female citizens in Delhi, where a woman reports a rape every four hours.
The protests caused far-reaching changes in India’s rape laws and a nationwide churning that effected sensitisation programmes in police and administration.
Similar to the crime four years ago, the 20-year-old woman said she got into the cab as she was getting late and no auto rickshaw had agreed to take her for the past 1.5 hours, police said.
The woman said that she fought back against the driver and managed to escape from the car. She then ran to the main road, where she saw a police bike patrolling the area and approached them, police added.
“At around 1:30 am the police saw the woman who alleged that she was raped. The personnel heard her out and without losing time, called the emergency response vehicle,” an official said.
Within the next 15 minutes, the patrolling bike and an emergency response vehicle started searching for the suspect’s car but he could not be located.
“The woman’s statement was then recorded and her medical was conducted,” deputy commission of police, south, Ishwar Singh said. “A case of rape was registered and a hunt to nab the driver was launched.”
Investigations revealed the car belonged to Mohit Pawar, a resident of south Delhi’s Kotla and the son of a Central Industrial Security Force head constable. He told police he purchased the car a few months ago and appointed Avnish as the driver a week ago.
Pawar said the MHA sticker had expired and he had put it on the car’s windshield to avoid paying toll tax.
According to sources, three teams were formed to search for the car, which was found abandoned near Moti Bagh, 100 meters away from the spot where the woman was allegedly raped. The police then immediately traced the owner from the car’s registration number to Kotla Mubarakpur. Following this, the details of the driver were procured and he was traced to a slum in Dhaula Kuan.
“Avnish was arrested at 5 pm on Thursday when he was drinking with his friends in Moti Bagh,” a police officer said.