Hapur gang-rape: Gang leader habitual offender, say cops
Soon after the arrest of the three suspects in the Hapur gang-rape case, the police said the modus-operandi was similar to the a few that were committed in the past – a gang would pick up victims from the Lal Kuan intersection at night, overpower them, take them to an isolated place, rob and then release them.
“They made sure that they did not injure their victims, so that the matter does not reach the police. They even offered victims money to travel back to Lal Kuan. In this gang-rape case they offered her a pack of biscuits and hailed an auto-rickshaw for her,” said a Hapur police officer, who did not wish to be named.
Late on February 24, a 30-year-old woman hired an auto-rickshaw from Lal Kuan to her home in Greater Noida but the driver and two other men posing as passengers allegedly took her to Hapur’s Galand instead where they raped and robbed her before letting her go. She then approached the police.
The prime suspect is 26-year-old Ankit who was arrested along with 25-year-old Mohammad Aquil and 22-year-old Akash Singh.
Police said the Ghaziabad police had arrested Ankit in 2013 for allegedly kidnapping and raping a 20-year-old. He allegedly confessed to the Hapur gang-rape, and also of committing a similar crime over a month ago near Galand, but the survivor in the case did not approach the police.
“We suspect that they may have committed similar crimes earlier. We will question them more,” said Neeraj Kumar Jadaun, superintendent of police (Hapur).
Police said the suspects allegedly operated from the Lal Kuan intersection on NH-9 where they found “easy targets”, such as people who wanted to go to Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar or Hapur.
The scene of the February 24 crime at Galand was about 20km from Lal Kuan on NH-9 and a large part of the route through Kavi Nagar and Masuri police station areas in Ghaziabad district.
Kalanidhi Naithani, senior superintendent of police (Ghaziabad) did not respond to repeated calls.
“So far, no other victim has approached us with a complaint. If anyone has fallen victim to the gang, they should come forward and register their complaint. Their identities will be kept confidential. The SHO of Masuri police station was suspended as he did not inform senior officers when the woman approached him on the night of February 24. We got the information of the incident about 26 hours later, through the media,” said Iraj Raja, superintendent of police (rural) – Ghaziabad.
The 30-year-old had approached the Masuri police station around 11.30pm while her case came to the knowledge of the Hapur police around 3.30pm the next day.
Nipun Agarwal, superintendent of police (city 1), said more personnel will be deployed and it will be ensured that auto-rickshaws plying illegally from Hapur are fined and seized. “We will inquire more about the getting details of the suspects from Hapur police. We along with the traffic police officials will ensure that autos from Hapur are checked and safety of women will be ensured,” he said.