Local Goa News

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How a phone call led to arrest of Bulandshahr gangrape accused

Hours after Salim Ali and his gang of five, allegedly gang-raped a 15-year-old minor, her mother and looted their family on a highway in Bulandshahr, the accused decided to speak to each other for one last time on their mobiles. Salim is said to have told another accomplice that they needed to disappear as the brutal incident had attracted a lot of condemnation and if caught by the police, the culprits would be in deep trouble. The phones were then switched off again, but the Uttar Pradesh Police say that the brief conversation was a window to solving the crime.

According to senior UP police officials, as part of their modus operandi, Salim's gang would switch off their phones 17-18 hours first, before committing the crime and would only switch them on moments before the crime was actually committed.

After coordinating with their members, the gang, then once again shuts all communication and disappears only to emerge days later to conduct fresh criminal acts.

Investigators say that Bulandshahr rape case has paved way for investigating several criminal incidents that have taken place in the recent time and not only in UP but also its neighbouring states which include Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand. Investigators, who believe that the six arrested persons accused of the Bulandshahr gang-rape case, might be involved in a series of loots and robberies that have taken place on national highways. In fact, intelligence gathered on the accused has even prompted to name the criminal syndicate as Highway Gangs. How the 'Highway Gangs' actually operate is in fact spine chilling.

"This particular gang has somewhere around 10-15 members. The men choose a secluded patch of highway based on its vulnerabilities, for example absence of street lights, bad roads and so on. They rope in a local from the area to conduct a recce which might include keeping a watch on traffic flow and determining the best time to conduct crime. Then once the time and place is decided, the group divides itself into two. The first group is responsible for stopping the vehicle which they do by throwing sharp tools or hammers and even eggs. the second group hides in the fields in case the victims try to run away," said Sujeet Pandey, IG Meerut Zone.

The officer added that the women and men are segregated, beaten, looted and in some cases even murdered or raped. Even though Sujeet Pandey, IG Meerut Zone, congratulated Crime Branches of Bulandshahr, Meerut and Noida, led by UP Police officer Raes-ul-Haq, for cracking open the case, the policemen do have an uphill task in UP which is seeing a spike in crime rate on highways that were known to witness similar incidents that were allegedly committed by members of local communities who live around these areas.

The same modus operandi was followed in Bulandshahr case as well. The accused men hatched the conspiracy in Kithore area of Meerut which lies approximately 70km from the scene of crime. The accused included

Kannauj residents Salim, Zubair and Sajid, along with Sabir of Hapur and Jabar Singh of Gautam Budh Nagar. The five hired a resident of Bulandshahr named Raes-ud-din, and first time travelled to Kithore on June 26. The second visit took place on July 9 which ended till July 22, the time in which the accused assessed the area. On July 27, they switched off their mobiles, took a bus from Kithore to an area close to Hapur. After being dropped near Hapur at 5pm, the accused men walked some distance and then moved to Bulandshahr in a private bus by paying 35 rupees each.

The accused then went on to a liquor shop at 8.30pm, bought alcohol and eggs and spent the next three hours in a field. At 1.15am, the accused allegedly carried out the crime. The accused had even fled to Jharkhand and were were arrested in Mawana area of UP. One, named Fati, is said to be still absconding. According to police, two country made revolvers, four live cartridges from the accused.

"As part of their modus operandi, the accused after and before committing crimes stay in rented accommodation which they call as Dera. These Dera's are spread across many states and members staying

in them help each other out by providing sanctuary,"said an investigation official. In the Bulandshahr case also, cash, jewelry were recovered from the clothes of the accused which they had left behind in Kithore before escaping. "The three accused were arrested when they were trying to board a bus to Bijnor but were arrested after informers told us about their movement. The accused had earlier also been seen boarding a bus with carry bags before committing the crime," the official said adding that the forensic evidence is yet to be examined.

"Hair strands, samples of mud and so on have been recovered from the site and will be examined," said the official.

According to UP police, two victims identified the accused men. However, chaotic scenes were witnessed on Tuesday at a police press conference in Noida when the victim's uncle while speaking to reporters said that he had not seen the accused himself. This was after police said that a test identification parade was yet to take place but connection of accused arrested in the case was established by the victims identifying them.

"I got a glimpse of the accused when they were in the care but I can identify them even if my eyes are blindfolded. I want the police to handover the accused to us so we can punish them ourselves,” said the aggrieved uncle who is an eye-witness to the crime.

DNA India News

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