17th arrest in minor gangrape case: Pune cops nab clean-up marshal ‘who raped the girl in Mumbai’

Police probe has revealed that 13 persons, including several auto-rickshaw drivers and two Railway employees, had sexually abused or raped the girl during the period she was held captive by them on August 31 and September 1.

MAKING the 17th arrest in the gangrape case of a 14-year-old girl, Pune Police have detained a clean-up marshal from Mumbai, who allegedly raped the girl when she went to the city after being released by the the perpetrators in Pune. The man from Mumbai has no connection to the suspects arrested in Pune earlier, said police.

The 14-year-old girl, who had gone to Pune railway station on the night of August 31 to travel outside Pune to meet a friend, was kidnapped from the station premises by an auto-rickshaw driver, who offered to give her a lift and help her find a place to stay. She was raped by the auto-rickshaw driver and his accomplices at different places in the city for the next several hours.

Police probe has revealed that 13 persons, including several auto-rickshaw drivers and two Railway employees, had sexually abused or raped the girl during the period she was held captive by them on August 31 and September 1.

Police have also arrested the 20-year-old friend she was planning to meet, and with whom she later travelled from Mumbai to Chandigarh by train. She was traced by the police in Chandigarh on September 5. Police had also arrested the managers of two lodges where the girl was taken by the suspects and raped. Police have said the act could not have been committed without the negligence or, worse, connivance of these two managers.

Investigation has further revealed that after being released by the suspects in Pune on late on September 1, the girl boarded a bus to Mumbai to meet her friend.

“On September 2, when the girl was in Mumbai, the 30-year-old man, working as clean-up marshal in Mumbai, approached the girl and told her that he was a Railway employee. He offered to help her reach home. He then took her to another place and raped her. Our probe has revealed that this suspect, who has been employed on contract by the civic body in Mumbai, has no connection with the 13 suspects arrested earlier or her friend. He has been remanded to police custody.” said a senior police officer who is part of the probe.

“After this… the girl met her friend and with him, she went to Chandigarh,” added the officer.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has appointed a large number of contractual employees as clean-up marshals to take penal action against the unsanitary action and practices of local residents at public places. The suspect is one such contractual clean-up marshal, said police.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Namrata Patil said, “The crime has taken place at multiple locations and requires sensitive handling of every piece of information that comes up. Multiple teams are probing different aspects of the case… we will try to file a chargesheet in the case well within the stipulated timeframe of 60 days.”

Police had earlier said that they were seeking the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor in the case, considering the seriousness of the crime. Officials also said that the accused will be tried in a fast-track court under the framework for cases of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

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