Delhi: Man held for raping minor a repeat offender, say police
Suraj, 20, had to appear before a magistrate in the Tis Hazari court on Friday in connection with a case of sexual harassment case with a minor girl registered against him four months ago. Instead, he went to Ranjeet Nagar in central Delhi, where he allegedly raped a seven year old girl, police said on Sunday after arresting the repeat offender in connection with the second incident.
On Friday, Suraj allegedly lured the seven-year-old girl with ₹10 when she was playing with her friends near her home, and took her to a room nearby, and raped her, according to the police. Investigators said Suraj, known by his first name, was earlier arrested for allegedly sexually harassing a five-year-old girl in west Delhi’s Khyala. He was on interim bail when he targeted another minor girl in Ranjeet Nagar, police said.
Investigators said nearly 800 CCTV cameras were scanned to identify and nab Suraj, who is a resident of Raghubir Nagar in west Delhi.
“Instead of appearing before the court, Suraj boarded a bus from Raghubir Nagar and reached Ranjeet Nagar to eat biryani. He found the minor girl playing near the market, and picked her as his target. He lured the girl to a vacant first floor factory after promising to give her ₹10, buy her sweets, and give a ball to play. He raped the minor girl and fled, leaving her injured,” an officer associated with the investigation said, adding that CCTV cameras captured the suspect taking the girl towards the factory building.
Deputy commissioner of police (central) Shweta Chauhan said the girl’s father, in his complaint to the police, said that his wife informed him that their daughter’s health was “in a bad condition”. They admitted her to a local hospital, where the medical staff told the parents about the sexual assault. A case of rape and sexual assault was registered under Indian Penal Code’s sections 376AB and 377 and section 6 of protection of children from sexual offences (POCSO) act.
“The case was totally blind because the suspect was unidentified. He was neither related to the girl nor lived in her neighbourhood. Also, his mobile phone number as well as identification document was not available. We formed many teams of the district’s anti-auto theft squad (AATS), special staff and the local police. They scanned nearly 800 cameras to identify the suspect,” said DCP Chauhan.
First lead and the chase
Investigators said the cameras installed within a radius of nearly 10 kilometers were scanned between Ranjeet Nagar and Moti Nagar, the last place where the suspect was seen boarding a bus going towards west Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar. It gave them an idea that the suspect could be from that area, or nearby localities. The police activated their human intelligence network in those areas and shared the video footage of the suspect with their informers as well.
On Saturday, the AATS team learnt that a man of almost the same age and physical appearance was arrested four months ago in a case of sexual harassment with a five-year-old girl in Khyala. The team visited Khyala and showed the suspect’s image from the video footage to local residents who identified him as the same man arrested in the harassment case.
Since the man was found to be on interim bail, his dossier was accessed and it helped the police identify his residential address. The police raided his house but found him missing along with his family members. The clothes he was wearing during the crime with the seven-year-old girl were found at his house.
Local residents told the police that the family goes around selling utensils on streets. They also told the police that the suspect’s parents and siblings had gone to Rajasthan for business. He did not go with them because he had to attend the court hearing in the Khyala case, said an investigator.
“From his relatives and neighbours, we got a mobile phone number that the suspect was using. Through technical surveillance, we found that the suspect was moving towards Haryana. He had left home around 8.30pm on Saturday . We scanned more CCTV cameras along the route, and found that he reached Peeragarhi in an e-rickshaw and boarded a bus for Haryana. Our teams chased the bus for nearly 130 kilometres and caught him in Rohtak,” added the investigator.
During interrogation, the officer said, Suraj disclosed that he visited Ranjeet Nagar because he loved to eat biryani sold in that area. On Friday, he left home around 8am for the court hearing, but went to Ranjeet Nagar in a bus instead of attending the hearing.
“He found the minor girl playing there and lured her to the vacant factory, where he assaulted her,” the officer said.