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Delhi minor's rape accused in judicial custody till May 4, hunt launched for second man

Police today launched a hunt for a 2nd person in the rape of a 5-yr-old girl after the accused spoke about the role of another man in the incident over which protests in Delhi for removal of police chief erupted for a third day today. 'Victim's condition improving' | Protests across Delhi; PM for collective efforts to end 'depravity'

delhi Updated: Apr 21, 2013 22:04 IST
Delhi rape protests,Delhi Child rape,AAP protests in Delhi

A Delhi court on Sunday sent the accused in a five-year-old girl's brutal torture and rape in Delhi to 14 days' judicial custody.

Manoj, who was arrested from his village in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, was presented before a magistrate who sent him to judicial custody till May 4.

The girl was abducted on April 15 and kept hostage for two days without food and water in a room in which the attacker lived, on the ground floor of the building in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar. The victim's family stays in the same building, police said.

The girl, who was raped and tortured, was rescued when members of her family heard her screams Wednesday, police said.

Investigators on Sunday launched a hunt for a second person in the rape of a five-year-old girl after an arrested man spoke about the role of another man in the incident over which protests here demanding the removal of Police Commissioner erupted for a third day.

As the anger over the gruesome rape spilled onto the capital's streets, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said collective efforts were needed to root out such "depravity" from society.

"The gruesome assault on a little child a few days back reminds us of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society," Singh said.

The girl is "gradually" recovering and there is "no danger" to her life though it will take another two weeks to discharge her from the hospital, doctors at AIIMS said.

On a day of flip-flop by Delhi Police on the issue of the role of second person, the arrested accused Manoj Kumar was produced before a court and agreed for a test identification parade. The duty magistrate sent him to judicial custody till May four.

Earlier in the day, police announced that they will produce Kumar, who was arrested from his in-laws' house in Bihar's Muzaffarpur yesterday, in court tomorrow before the expiry of transit remand granted by a Bihar court.

Police had in a statement earlier in the day denied "rumours" of arresting a second accused or "looking" for him.

Sources said Kumar had taken the name of the second person's presence at the time of the incident with Delhi Police as well as Bihar Police during questioning.

In the evening, a senior police official said they were probing whether the second suspect is involved in the rape or whether he helped Kumar in fleeing the capital on April 15 soon after the rape.

The day witnessed outraged students and women staging demonstrations at India Gate, Police Headquarters and near the residences of the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Placard-wielding protesters also gathered at AIIMS, where the girl is undergoing treatment, and burnt the effigy of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar demanding his sacking.

Traffic was disrupted at ITO and India Gate in the evening as the number of protesters swelled.

Police officers escort a man (C), accused of raping and torturing a five-year-old girl, at a court in Muzaffarpur. REUTERS Photo

More than 100 people, who staged protests at PHQ and near the residences of Singh and Gandhi, were detained and later released. Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed near the residence of the Prime Minister and PHQ.

The protesters were in small groups unlike the thousands who had swamped India Gate and Rajpath last December following the rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus, but their anger was palpable.

The girl was locked in a ground floor rented accommodation of 22-year-old Kumar, her neighbour, in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar where she was brutally raped before the accused fled on April 15 presuming that she is dead.

On its change of mind on producing the accused in acourt, a police officer said it was done in fairness of investigations.

Sources said the decision was changed within hours as investigators felt that the delay in production of the accused may go in his favour while pressing for a test identification parade.

People are protesting against the rape of 5-year-old girl outside the AIIMS. Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times

Investigators feared that he could claim that he was paraded before those who will attend the TIP which could hamper their plans.

Delhi has recorded 393 rapes in the first three months of the year compared to 152 during the same period last year.

Around 15-20 members of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tried to stage a protest in the evening near the Prime Minister's residence but were detained by the police.

Women and student activists staged demonstrations near India Gate in the evening hours.

Asked about allegations that the accused was involved in a rape case earlier and was forced to marry the victim, the police officer said, "We don't have any such information.

"We have heard about the allegations. We will verify it from Bihar Police."

Kumar's wife denied the allegation that she was raped by the accused who was forced to marry her.

"It was a false case slapped on him due to a land dispute. There is no truth in this," she told a TV channel.

She said that she heard about the rape of the five-year-old girl allegedly by her husband. "I have not seen her. I don't know that family," she said.

First Published: Apr 21, 2013 21:31 IST