Testimonies, victim’s phone call: How cops traced Hyderabad rape accused
Testimonies from a petrol pump attendant and a tyre mechanic provided crucial leads and helped solve the rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, two officers connected with the investigation said on Sunday.
The charred remains of the doctor were found on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Thursday morning, sparking nationwide protests. The first breakthrough came on Friday morning, when the worker at a local petrol pump called the police. He said around 12.30 am on Thursday, two men on a red-coloured scooty approached him for petrol.
The make of the two-wheeler given by the attendant matched the one owned by the victim, said the first officer quoted above.
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The time given by him was also close to the time of the doctor’s call to her sister on Wednesday, when she said she had a flat tyre at the Tondupally toll plaza and was scared because of a lorry in the vicinity.
The police took down the description of the two men, as stated by the attendant.
He provided a second crucial clue: When refused, the men continued towards Shadnagar. This helped police narrow the scope of their inquiries to one stretch of the highway. Police began canvassing all petrol stations, mechanics and establishments on the highway that had CCTVs.
At this point, a tyre mechanic who worked near the toll plaza told police that two men on Wednesday night filled air in a red two-wheeler – the details identical to the victim’s scooty and description by the attendant.
The CCTV footage from a nearby establishment showed the presence of a lorry.
The victim’s phone call had mentioned a lorry, and the police had already identified a parked lorry less than 300 feet from the toll plaza on Wednesday night. But the investigators couldn’t identify the vehicle’s number because it was dark.
Police examined CCTV footage from earlier on Wednesday and found the lorry was parked near the plaza and the number of the vehicle was visible, said the second police officer.
That helped the police track down the lorry owner Srinivas Reddy. Reddy told police that Mohammed Areef was the driver and Jollu Srini, Jollu Naveen and Chenna Keshavalu were with him. He also told the authorities that their native place was in Naryanpet district.
The four accused confessed to their crime, said police on Friday.
“What is disturbing is how coolly and meticulously they planned the whole thing. Even after committing the crime they wrapped the body in a blanket and set it on fire. They even went back on the same scooty to check whether the body is properly burnt or not. They disposed of the scooty after removing the number plate. Later, they drove in the same lorry, split up at Aramghar Chowrashta where the accused 2, 3 and 4 left to their native place while the driver Mohammed Areef delivered the lorry load in the city,” said a third top police officer on condition of anonymity.
Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad, VC Sajjanar, did not respond to calls or text messages for further details on the investigation.