US tourist gang rape: Forensic lab fails to recover video from CCTV of Connaught Place hotel
The woman alleged that she was sedated, beaten and raped in a five star hotel by four men, including her guide, in April. the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, says it cannot retrieve videos of the alleged rape from the hotel’s CCTV and cell phone of the main accusedUpdated: May 31, 2017 11:39 IST
The only evidence Delhi Police had to build up the gang rape case of a US woman last year has been lost in time.
Last week, police received a report from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, stating that they were unable to retrieve videos of the alleged rape from the hotel’s CCTV and cell phone of the main accused who had allegedly recorded the act.
In October last year, a 23- year-old teaching assistant had approached an NGO, which in turn informed police, alleging to have been gang raped during her visit to India in April. The woman alleged that she was sedated, beaten and raped in a five star hotel by four men, including her guide. On the basis of the woman’s complaint over email, police registered a case of gang rape in October 17 and asked the woman to join the investigations. She returned to India in December.
Eight months after the incident, a medical examination conducted at a city hospital could not confirm rape. Assault injuries weren’t usually visible after a month, doctor’s told the woman. The woman had accused the four of inserting multiple foreign objects inside her private parts. Police arrested the four men on the basis of her statement before a magistrate, which is admissible evidence. Their cell phones were seized and sent for forensic tests.
“We had sent the phones and CCTV to CSFL Hyderabad asking them to help retrieve the videos. The forensic experts wrote to us that currently they do not have the facility to retrieve old videos. Had they managed to retrieve the videos, we would have built a solid case,” a police source, said adding that a copy of the report has been submitted to court
Sources said police are awaiting a court’s order and contemplating if the footage could be sent to a Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab in the US.
The woman in her interview to HT had expressed worry about losing the legal battle because the four men had over a month to delete evidence till police arrested them. The woman had alleged that she was wrapped in a blanket and carried around in the hotel corridor, but there was no CCTV footage to prove the same as all old footage was automatically wiped after a month.
While the hotel employee got bail, the other three accused — a tour guide, driver and bus cleaner — are still behind bars. The woman had identified the trio in a test identification parade in December.
The woman’s lawyer Mrityunjay Kumar told HT that they were disappointed with the development. “We will explore our legal options,” he said.
First Published: May 31, 2017 07:42 IST