Six days after a 36-year old mentally unstable inmate of a shelter home on the southern fringes of the city was raped, after being taken away in a car, the police have arrested a taxi driver hailing from Narendrapur.
Police said the 26-year-old Uttam Ram, the driver of an AC taxi, was arrested at around 10.40 on Saturday night from Sonarpur. He is a resident of Dakshin Kantipota area of Narendrapur in South 24-Parganas. After being interrogated, Ram confessed to his crime.
Further investigation is on to ascertain whether any other person was involved in the crime. Police have also seized the taxi into which the victim was dragged on Monday night after she walked out of the shelter home.
The breakthrough in the abduction and gang rape case came after the investigators traced down the number plate of the car after scanning a large quantity of CCTV footage collected from over 100 cameras spread over a long stretch of road for the past few days. They had also identified the spots from where the rape survivor was picked up and where she was dumped by the miscreants after scanning the footage.
“The names she was mentioning were either of her relatives or of the inmates of another home where she had been staying. Her mental condition was such that she was unable to distinguish between her acquaintances and the persons who attacked her,” said joint commissioner of police (crime) Murlidhar Sharma.
The investigation was further complicated due to several inconsistencies in the statements of the home’s attendant who first discovered the rape survivor missing from her room.
Police sources said that the woman had left the shelter home between 10.30 to 11 p.m. on Monday night after opening the gate of the home and walked towards a bus stand near the home when a private car picked her up. However, the occupants of the car dropped her immediately after realising that she is a mentally challenged person. It was then that the accused Ram saw her and took her into his vehicle. He then sped towards Sonarpur and raped her after taking her to a nearby open field. After committing the offence, he had thrown her out of the vehicle somewhere in Sonarpur.
Later some locals noticed her in a blood-soaked dress on Tuesday morning. They informed Narendrapur police station. The police then came to her rescue and left her at a home in Sonarpur. However, the woman fled the home to board a train for Ballygunge with help from some passengers and arrived at her maternal aunt’s home at Gariahat in the evening and narrated the entire incident to her relatives. Later her elder sister, who is a resident of Behala, lodged a complaint with the police station.
Medical tests have already been conducted on the survivor and expert teams have repeatedly talked to her as she is under severe trauma. In the meantime, her ailing mother, who was admitted at the home with multiple fractures in her leg, passed away on Thursday night. A team of the National Commission for Women (NCW) also visited the rape survivor on Saturday and expressed displeasure over the loopholes in the security arrangements at the shelter home.
The woman, who has now been shifted at a governmentrun home, will record her statement at Alipore court on 19 November.