Chandigarh woman gangraped: Police zero in on 300 auto drivers
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Chandigarh woman gangraped: Police zero in on 300 auto drivers

Petrol pump’s CCTV footage shows the accused wearing a jacket distributed by a Kajheri guesthouse to 300 auto drivers for promotions.

punjab Updated: Nov 21, 2017 09:53 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh woman gangraped,21-yr-old gangraped,auto drivers
A CCTV grab of the accused at the Sector-42 petrol pump.

Giving an impetus to the police probe into the 21-year-old’s gangrape, it has now come to light that the accused auto-rickshaw driver was wearing a jacket distributed by a Kajheri-based guesthouse for its branding campaign.

The driver can be clearly seen in the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage collected from the Sector-42 petrol pump, where he had stopped to refuel his vehicle on the night of November 17, just minutes before he along with the two other male occupants gangraped the woman in Sector 53.

HT had pointed out how CCTV cameras installed on the Chandigarh-Mohali border, near the spot where the 21-year-old woman was gangraped, were found non-functional.

As the guesthouse had distributed the jacket to 300 auto drivers in the city, the UT police — which has been groping in the dark for the past three days — have now zeroed in on these drivers in the hope of making a breakthrough.

Sources said the guesthouse owner had distributed these jackets among auto drivers with the understanding that they would direct the people coming to the city to his establishment for stay. As is the practice, guesthouses pay commission or give incentives to drivers of auto-rickshaws and taxis to promote their establishments.

Meanwhile, police are also keeping an eye on people frequenting areas where flesh trade is flourishing.

Also read | Woman gangraped in Chandigarh: Was dragged into bushes on getting down to pay, says victim

Cops to be rewarded for leads

Desperate for a breakthrough, the UT police have also decided to give incentives to beat constables for providing definitive leads into the case. The beat constables are likely to be rewarded with cash and even promotion depending on the information.

Sources said the department has already started getting calls from residents, giving them tip-offs about where the suspects could be found. Police teams are verifying all such information.

Cops are also scanning the data of those who have defaulted on their dues to finance companies. Sources said most of the auto-rickshaws with temporary numbers are financed by such companies.

Police teams have also been deployed at the CNG stations in the city as the auto in question ran on CNG.

“We are checking all auto-rickshaws plying on the roads with temporary numbers,” said UT senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nilambari Vijay Jagdale. “The data of such autos is also being scanned. The crime branch teams are also scanning mobile dump data of the area to zero in on the suspects”.

The victim had told the police that the auto had a temporary number.

Police to inspect all CCTV cameras in city

Chandigarh With non-functional CCTV cameras hitting the gangrape probe, police have now decided to inspect all cameras installed by the authorities in the city.

HT on November 20 had pointed out how the CCTV cameras installed on the Chandigarh-Mohali border, near the spot in Sector 53 where the 21-year-old woman was gangraped, were found non-functional.

Sources in the department said on the basis of the internal inspection, a report will be prepared. It will also mention that for how long the cameras have been non-functional.

Moreover, even if working, cameras installed on the Chandigarh-Mohali border are of poor quality and fail to scan the number of the speeding vehicles, said sources

The North-South divide is apparent in installation of the CCTV cameras in the city. The number of cameras on the main roads and traffic intersections are more in the northern tony sectors while the southern sectors — which are more densely populated, witness more crimes and caters to interstate traffic — are neglected.

Councillor Satish Kainth, who represents Sector 53 in the House, said: “There is need to probe as to how the bills of the company that had installed the CCTV cameras in the city are being cleared? The cameras are not working to full capacity, then why pay for them?” Kainth said the firm is also entrusted with the maintenance of the camera.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 09:52 IST