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The fake gangrap case| Electronic evidence, CCTV footage saved us: First suspects

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The turn of events on October 18 came as a shock for the five remaining men and their families in the Kabir Nagar district of Delhi. A 38-year-old woman claimed that on the night of October 16, her brother was abducted in a black Scorpion car while returning from her home in Ghaziabad and was gang-raped by these five men.

Swati Maliwal, head of the Delhi Women’s Commission (DCW), tweeted the graphic description of the alleged sexual assault and even went on to compare it to the gangrap case in Delhi in December 2012.

The 2012 case sparked national outrage and prompted the government to pass tougher laws to control crimes against women.

Maliwal even claimed that the woman was brutalized with an “iron rod” that doctors later removed with great difficulty.

Read Also| Ghaziabad ‘gangrape’ case: DCW seeks high-level investigation

A spokesperson for GTB Hospital told HT on Wednesday that a small “foreign object” was found in the woman, while Ghaziabad SSP Muniraj G said the “foreign object” was a piece of tongue cleaner five to six centimeters long.

Maliwal could not be reached for response when also reached on Friday and Saturday.

The woman’s brother in Ghaziabad filed a complaint and based on that, Ghaziabad police registered an FIR for gangrap and illegal detention against the top five suspects at Nandgram police station.

Her brother had named Sharukh, Javed, Aurangzeb, Deenu, and Dhola, among whom the woman allegedly had a land dispute. 53 lakh at Kabir Nagar in Delhi.

“Javed and I had left our house to go to work on the morning of October 18, and I dropped him off at Chajju Nagar near Babarpur in Delhi to fetch some raw materials. We have a small interior and furniture business. When we got home, Gaziabad police teams started arriving one by one and took first my other brother Shahrukh, my mother, my older brother and my married sister. The news reached us as well, and soon we began to visualize what could happen to us in police custody. I did not go home that day and continued to hide in a house in the neighborhood. Javed also fled somewhere and we couldn’t find any trace of him,” said the first suspects, Shahrukh and Javed’s younger brother Mohammad Imtiaz.

Apart from Shahrukh, other family members were released by Ghaziabad police, Imtiaz said.

On October 20, Ghaziabad police came out with an official response and held a press briefing at the police lines.

They described the case as “fake” and arrested three other suspects – Azad Tehsin, a Delhi resident of Welcome; Gaurav Sharan, a resident of Shivam Garden in Badalpur (Gautam Budh Nagar); and Mohammad Afzal, a resident of Kaila Bhatta in Ghaziabad – with forensic and electronic evidence before making the arrests.

Police claimed that Azad and the woman conspired to catch five suspects related to the disputed property.

Police at Suo motu FIR recorded the woman, as well as a local reporter from Delhi who allegedly was paid. 5,000 for making the case sensational.

“About two years ago Javed, 2 lakh loan from Azad. His brother-in-law, Shafeeq, introduced Javed to Azad. Javed has returned some money and some are pending. Meanwhile, Azad wanted to buy our house (property) and took my mother to a court in Delhi. He can’t read or write. He had him sign some documents and based on these documents, he transferred the property in his own name, then in the name of another man and finally in the name of the 38-year-old woman.

Imtiaz said Azad and his brother-in-law Shafeeq also occupy the ground floor of the house where they have installed 10 sewing machines for their business.

“After a few months, we realized that our house’s electricity bill was not coming and we got suspicious. Under pressure from the locals, we asked them to vacate the house in May earlier this year. This led to the dispute. Two days later, Javed disappeared for three days. He was caught by the Ghaziabad police in connection with a car theft case. When we learned of this and arrived in Gaziabad, my brother was released. We learned that it was Azad who gave his name to report it to the police.”

“On the night of October 16, Javed was at Aurangzeb’s house. Aurangzeb is our friend and also gave us employment contracts. Security camera footage of Javed’s presence at Aurangzeb’s home was also taken by the police. We’ve never met the 38-year-old woman. We have no affiliation in Ghaziabad and we usually don’t go there other than Meerut. The whole family is in shock, but we are slowly starting to realize that my brothers were not involved,” Imtiaz added.

The black Scorpion named in the woman’s complaint that her brother was allegedly abducted belongs to Deenu, one of the top five suspects.

“The scorpion car was in a private parking lot near my house during the day and night of October 16 (when the woman claimed kidnapping). Security camera footage of the incident was taken by the police. The next day of October 17, I was at home until 5 pm and then I went to Taimur Nagar and then to Jama Masjid where I had dinner. All my travel destinations and necessary CCTV footage are in the police,” said Deenu, who works as a real estate salesperson.

“I bought the item from Javed’s parents and later found out that he was arguing with Azad. Later, Azad had the property documents somehow drawn up in his name. This dispute has been going on for over a year. The valuation of the property is approx. 53 lakh and I gave 8 lakhs to Javed’s family as the starting amount. Earlier this year, Azad forcibly occupied the property and was later forced to vacate it. This led to animosity between the two,” Deenu added.

Deenu said the security footage saved her.

Haji Zareef, a local resident, said that families and locals are grateful to the Ghaziabad police for their thorough investigation into the incident.

“These five men would have gone to jail if the police hadn’t done their job properly. They cooperated with the police and provided possible evidence of their innocence. “We hope their names will be cleared soon,” said Zareef.

Police officials said they formed a large number of teams after the incident emerged on the morning of October 16.

“We tracked the suspects’ mobile locations and other details and determined that they did not come to Gaziabad at the time of the incident. This raised questions. After a detailed investigation, the case took a different turn. The first five suspects have nothing to do with the current investigation and their names will be cleared through a legal procedure. We have evidence corroborated by the statements made by the three suspects (friends of the woman) who were later arrested,” he said.