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Homeless Delhi girl gangraped: How cops nabbed culprits with just a name as clue

Investigators worked off just a first name, Mintu, to nab two accused in the gangrape of a 15-year-old homeless girl in Delhi, adopting a time-tested method of searching from house to house in one of the most densely populated areas in the capital.

delhi Updated: Jan 11, 2017 14:40 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Homesless girl gangraped,Delhi Police,Mintu 'clue'
Investigators worked off just a first name, Mintu, to nab two accused in the gang rape of a homeless girl in Delhi.(Representative image/Shutterstock)

Investigators worked off just a first name, Mintu, to nab two accused in the gangrape of a 15-year-old homeless girl in Delhi, adopting a time-tested method of searching from house to house in one of the most densely populated areas in the capital.

The minor survivor gave birth to a premature baby on December 31, after she was sexually abused by five accused, all of them minors, over several months in the Mayur Vihar Phase I area.

Three of the five accused are still absconding.

Often criticised for slow pace of investigations, especially in cases of sexual assaults, the breakthrough in this case has been hailed in Delhi Police as an example of sticking to the basics and persevering in the face of odds.

“We were left with no option but to search for the suspect named Mintu (name changed), the only clue the girl provided to us…five teams were formed to develop the clue, identify the suspects and bring them to book at the earliest,” said a senior investigating officer.

Police said the traumatised rape survivor was not able to recall physical descriptions despite even several counselling. She was rescued in an unconscious state on December 29 from a pavement near the metro station’s parking lot and regained her senses only on January 3.

The teams went to work as soon as a case was registered under different sections including that of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO).

With no specific lead, lack of description of the accused, lack of eyewitnesses and electronic evidence such as CCTV camera footage, the police resorted to their conventional style of investigation that includes gathering information through criminal intelligence networks and door-to-door search operations.

For a week, from January 3 to 9, the police teams went from house to house in the Dallupura village, Khichripur, Pandav Nagar and other areas around the Mayur Vihar-I metro station, searching for one Mintu.

Read | Four years after Dec 16: Number of rape cases in Delhi have increased

More than two dozen boys with that name and living in the nearby areas were rounded up, their photographs taken and shown to the rape survivor, the police official said. However, the exhaustive operation did not yield any result as she said none among them was Mintu.

Faced with a roadblock, the investigations slowed down. But police was yet to give up.

As the teams kept going back to area one of them rounded up a group of six minors, all alleged snatchers who operated in the area.

One among them was Mintu.

“Our team members heaved a sigh of relief when one of the boys identified himself as Mintu and also confessed that he along with his friends had been sexually exploiting the girl,” said the officer.

Police statistics has shown that it is mostly the neighbours or people known to the kids who target them. A number of horrible sex crimes against children were reported in 2016
DEC 24: A 60-year-old auto-rickshaw driver allegedly tried to rape a 10-year-old girl in east Delhi’s Geeta Colony
DEC 16: Two men allegedly kidnapped a 13-year-old girl from outside her home in northeast Delhi’s Khajoori Khas, took her in a nearby shop and tried to gang rape her. Locals rescued her
NOV 21: A four-year-old girl in northwest Delhi’s Keshav Puram was found murdered near her house. Police suspected sexual assault
SEPT 3: An 11-month-old baby was abducted and raped by her neighbour in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri
JULY 25: A 4-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped by her 28-year-old neighbour in outer Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy.
JULY 23: A 14-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped several times by her neighbour and forced to drink a ‘corrosive substance’ that damaged her internal organs in north Delhi’s Burari
MAY 25: A 13-year-old girl with Down syndrome was admitted to AIIMS after she was kidnapped, brutally raped and dumped near the railway tracks allegedly by her neighbour in Pul Prahladpur
MAY 10: A nine-year-old girl was raped allegedly by his neighbour, a toy seller, at his tiny room in Sanjay Camp slum near Nigerian embassy in Delhi’s high-security diplomatic enclave.
APRIL 24: A 26-year-old man allegedly raped a four-year-old girl and tried to strangle her at his home in east Delhi’s Kalyanpuri.
It was a pre-term delivery. The minor was 30-weeks pregnant
The baby girl weighs 1 kg (anything less than 2.5kgs is underweight)
The baby is kept in the neo-natal care unit of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital
Doctors say both mother and baby are doing fine
The mother will be attended by a team of doctors, counsellors and police to help her decide what she wants to do

His interrogation led to the nabbing of the second juvenile accused who was also among the six apprehended. Their photographs were shown to the girl and “she identified both of them”.

A police official said the survivor is being taken care of by an NGO, police and authorities at the Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital, where her premature baby girl is under observation in the intensive care unit.

“We are coordinating with the child welfare committed and NGOs to help the minor girl get back to the mainstream. All possible steps will be taken to rehabilitate her,” said Ombir Singh, DCP (east).

“All requisite steps will be taken to secure the baby’s future.”

Read | A woman raped every 4 hours, 21 cars stolen every day in 2016: Delhi Police data

First Published: Jan 11, 2017 10:58 IST