Pathalgadi masterminds arrested in Kochang gangrape of 5 tribal girlsUpdated: Jul 22, 2018 23:53 IST
In a major breakthrough, Jharkhand police on Sunday arrested Pathalgadi masterminds and main accused John Jonas Tidu and Balram Samad in the gangrape of five tribal girls in Kochang jungles under Khunti district on June 19.
The arrests came after an inter-district operation by Jamshedpur police and Khunti police nabbed the perpetrators trying to sneak out of the state to Maharashtra.
Police team picked up Tidu from Hata Chowk in Potka while Khunti team picked up Balram from Murhu. Both were trying to go to Chakradharpur station by some vehicles, police said.
John Jonas Tidu was wanted in 12 cases while Balram Samad was wanted in eight cases lodged against them in Khunti district. Both the accused hail from Kurunga village under Arki police station (PS) in Khunti.
Police had earlier arrested Fr Alfonso Aind, PLFI area commander Bazi Samad alias Takla, Jonas Mundu, Ajob Sandi Purty and Ashish Longo in connection with the Kochang gangrape.
In a press conference on Sunday, Ranchi IG Navin Kumar Sigh, Ranchi DIG Amol Venukant Homkar, Kolhan DIG Kuldeep Singh, Jamshedpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Anoop Birthare and Kunti SP Ashwini Kumar Sinha announced the arresting the of two of the most wanted accused in the gangrape.
Tidu and Balram are allegedly chief aides of Pathalgadi leaders Dr Yusuf Purty and Laxman Soy – both still absconding even after police have attached Dr Purry’s properties. All the accused arrested earlier have confirmed that Tidu, Balram and Laxman Soy had provoked them for committing the crime against tribal activists.
“We formed a special task force under additional SP Pranab Anand Jha Saturday night on a tip off and picked up John Jonas Tidu from Hata area under Potka Block of East Singhbhum district the same night. We got crucial leads from Tidu which subsequently led to Balram Samad arrest from Jeevan Tollah under Murhu police station (PS),” Birthare said.
The gangrape of five tribal activists– staging anti-trafficking play – not just shook the country but also triggered tribal outrage against misleading and Constitution distorting campaign across at least three districts – Khunti, Seraikela-Kharsawan and West Singhbhum.
“Jonas Tidu and Balram Samad confessed during interrogation that both had incited PLFI’s Bazi Samad and Jonas Mundu for gang raping the five tribal girls. They had said these girls informed the administration about them hence needed to be humiliated and taught a lesson. They also admitted that they were propagating the distorted version of Pathalgadi under influence of Krishna Hansda and Satpathi cult of Gujarat and also accepted visiting Katswan under Tapi district of Gujarat. We have sent special teams to different states to follow up leads provided by Tidu and Samad,” Kuldeep Dwivedi, Kolhan IG, said.
According to top police officials, Jasmhedpur SSP and Kunti SP received credible tip off on Saturday night that John Jonas Tidu and Balram Samad were trying to flee to Maharsthra. Acting on the tip-off, Birthare and Ashwini Kumar formed two teams headed by ASP (operation) Pranab Anand Jha and Khnti ASP (operation) Anurag Raj and Kunti SDPO Ranvir Singh, who nabbed the accused.