WhatsApp video nails rapist 5 years after crime

  • Priya Ranjan Sahu, Hindustan Times, Bhubaneshwar
  • Updated: Mar 26, 2015 19:30 IST

When Odisha's Subrat Sahu allegedly raped a woman, filmed the act and circulated it a mobile messaging app, he did not expect to be arrested five years after he committed the crime.

A team of Central Bureau of Investigation officials, who are probing several cases of rape videos posted on a mobile messaging app on the order of the Supreme Court, arrested 45-year-old Sahu on Monday from his residence in Bhubaneswar.

"The CBI team came to Bhubaneswar on March 19. We extended all help to the team in identifying and nabbing the accused," Bhubaneswar deputy commissioner of police Satyabrata Bhoi said.

Sahu, a Bhubaneswar-based builder, was taken to New Delhi where a court remanded him to one day in CBI custody.

The CBI has booked Sahu on charges of common intention, propagating obscene material and assault to woman with intent to outrage her modesty under provisions of Indian Penal Code, besides sections of the Information Technology Act relating to violation of privacy and publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.

In 2010, Sahu allegedly raped the 24-year-old woman working as a receptionist in his company, while an accomplice filmed the act. They later circulated the video clip on WhatsApp.

Women's rights activists and the media had reportedly drawn the attention of the local police towards the video clip, but no action was taken against the builder because "the girl had not lodged a complaint".

The case was again highlighted in February this year by Hyderabad based anti-trafficking activist Sunitha Krishnan. Krishnan, a gangrape survivor, received two video clips including the one involving Sahu on WhatsApp, edited and posted them on YouTube in a bid to identify the culprits.

After her efforts to persuade the law enforcement agencies to trace the accused, Krishnan sent a letter to the Supreme Court on behalf of her non-governmental organisation Prajwala seeking its intervention.

The apex court took a suo motu cognizance of Krishnan's letter, which had expressed its concern over circulation of videos showing sexual violence on popular messaging services and their telecast on social networking sites, ordered a CBI inquiry into the two rape cases highlighted by her.

The central probe agency has lodged eight regular cases and a preliminary investigation has so far identified culprits in two cases.

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