WhatsApp group at centre of Thane gang rape case under police lens
Police are further investigating a WhatsApp group that the survivor of the Dombivli gang rape and some of the accused were part of, an officer of Manpada police station said on Saturday.
The survivor had on Wednesday registered a case, in which 33 young men were named, alleging intimidation, blackmail and prolonged sexual abuse from January to September. The police have arrested 27 persons and sent two more, who are minors, to a juvenile remand home in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra.
One of the accused had posted a compromising video in the WhatsApp group when she refused to meet him in May, the survivor said in her statement, according to the police officer.
“Ever since they got access to the video recorded in January, in which the main accused was sexually assaulting the victim, the accused had repeatedly been calling the victim. They would ask her to come to various locations, where several of them would force themselves on her,” the Manpada police officer said, requesting anonymity. “On May 16, one of them called her and made a similar demand. When she refused, he posted the video of her and the main accused in a WhatsApp group named ‘Friends’, of which the victim was also a member.”
The survivor said in her statement that she then agreed to meet the accused. Subsequently, he picked her up from near her residence on his motorbike and took her to Rabale in Navi Mumbai, where she was forced to drink alcohol and was sexually assaulted by seven people. She had to be hospitalised after the ordeal, the survivor said in her statement.
Police have obtained details of all the members of the WhatsApp group. They will be making inquiries with other members of the group as well as the group administrator to find out if any of them, other than the accused, had knowledge about the survivor’s plight.
The survivor had refused to meet the accused in this particular occasion because earlier in the same month, they had forcibly restrained her for nearly a day, leading to her parents filing a missing person’s report, said the police officer cited earlier.
“The victim was finding it increasingly difficult to come up with convincing lies to explain her frequent absences from home, and at the same time was terrified of the videos being made public if she did not bow down to the demands of the accused,” the officer said.