Sheikh Salim, one of the two men arrested in connection with the rape of a nun at a West Bengal convent earlier this month, has admitted he knew the remaining suspects and has identified them. He has, however, denied that he joined them during their raid on the Ranaghat convent.
Salim, an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, was arrested from Mumbai on Thursday. He told the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) during his interrogation on Friday that he had gone to Bangladesh after a tiff with his wife on March 13, a day before the Ranaghat rape and robbery.
His story was corroborated by Gopal Sarkar, who was nabbed from his home in North 24 Parganas district near Kolkata for harbouring the suspects. Sarkar’s wife has also identified the remaining suspects from CCTV grabs taken from the convent.
Salim’s face was not among those captured by the convent’s CCTV cameras and his cellphone was switched off on the day of the attack.
“All statements have to be verified. We have to find out whether they are speaking the truth,” a senior CID officer told HT.
“Salim admitted he was present with the rest of the gang at Sarkar’s residence before the crime but left for Bangladesh and did not accompany the gang to Ranaghat,” said a CID source.
Salim, 40, however, admitted he was part of a March 3 robbery in Kharagpur, West Midnapore district.
The CID source said that the other suspects have been identified as Manik, Farooq, Sujan, Milan, Habib, Nazrul, Tuhin and Babu, all believed to be from Bangladesh.
The arrested accused told the CID that the suspects were criminals from Bangladesh who would often cross over to India, commit crimes and then cross back over to Bangladesh to escape the police.