Saleem Bawaria, the prime accused in the Bulandshahr rape case, and his accomplices were undone by informers, suspected to be from his own gang, sources said. The vast electronic surveillance by the police to track his hideouts in Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar and neighbouring cities also aided in the arrest of the accused.
Before their arrest from Meerut-Mawana Road on Monday night, the accused were hiding in different states and are believed to have travelled nearly 3,000km to evade the 18 police teams that were tracking 28 locations, which were identified as tribal settlements.
Police said that while tracking the mobile phones of the accused, they intercepted a conversation, according to which the accused were furious over the person who leaked Saleem’s name to the police. According to police, one of the intercepts said ‘badi vaardaat ho gai hai ... isme bail nahi ho payegi’ (a big incident has happened and no bail would be possible).
The police said that another conversation stated, ‘Ghodi hata lo ... kisne mukhbiri ki hai?’ (relocate the horses ... who has turned informer and leaked information), as they were suspicious that a person close to the accused was leaking information.
According to sources, police came up with a ploy and lured Saleem’s associates into revealing his location by promising pay-offs.
Police said there were other intercepts — call records between the accused and their wives, in which the women can be heard saying, “bring gold earrings but do not assault women.”
On Juy 31, the police arrested three suspects — Raees, Shavez and Jabar Singh, from Vair railway station. One of the suspects, Faati, is absconding. Police claim a total of seven persons were involved in the incident.
Police searched for Saleem and his men at far-off places — near the Bokaro steel plant and other tribal settlements in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, Manesar, Palwal and Faridabad in Haryana, Balukheda, Narsena in UP and Bodh Gaya in neighbouring Bihar.
“A lot of information about the gang was also provided by Jabar Singh’s (an accused) wife who is from the Bawaria tribe,” a police officer said.
The locations of the seven suspects were continuously tracked by police. According to police, the accused travelled to Jharkand on August 2 and returned to Kithore in Meerut on August 6. They were traced to Mawana on August 7 and they nabbed Saleem and his accomplice on August 8, when they were waiting to board a Bijnor-bound bus.