Two men, who had been on the run since allegedly gang-raping a 20-year-old woman in Rewari on September 12, were arrested from Satnali in Haryana’s Mahendragarh district on Sunday.
Pankaj, an army man and the main accused, and his accomplice, Manish, were arrested while they were having breakfast at a dhaba. Another accused, Nishu Phogat, had been arrested last week
The two will be produced before a local court on Monday. The police would seek their custody to interrogate them regarding the people who had sheltered them while they remained on the run.
Police superintendent Naazneen Bhasin, who is heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the gang-rape, said they worked round-the-clock to get leads about the accused. “So far, I can say that this was an organised gang-rape,” she said
Bhasin said Pankaj and Manish had dug a pit in a field to keep their mobile phones. “They went to Bikaner in Rajasthan and were sheltered at a dharamshala, dhanis (a cluster of houses). They even spent a day in the fields,” Bhasin said.
She said three people were initially named in the First Information Report (FIR). “Later, we arrested two more people, one Deendayal… and Sanjeev, a registered medical practitioner. We have sent medical reports of the victim to a forensic lab to know how many people committed the crime. The forensic, medical reports will also confirm if the victim was raped by other people as well, though the possibility cannot be ruled out,” she said.
Pankaj, Manish and Nishu allegedly abducted the 20-year-old woman, a Central Board of School Board examination topper, from a bus stop when she was going to her coaching centre and gang-raped her.
In the FIR, the woman said the three accused gave her water laced with a sedative to drink before raping her. They later dumped her at a bus stop and fled.
The police had detained over 100 people in Rewari, including the in-laws of the army man, to track him down. As many as 25 police teams had been formed to trace the accused in Rajasthan and Haryana.
Rewari police superintendent Rahul Sharma told journalists they will seek a fast-track trial in the case.
The woman’s family had earlier accused the Rewari police of inaction, which had led to police superintendent Rajesh Dhuggal’s transfer.
Sub-inspector Heeramani of Rewari’s women police station was suspended for dereliction of duty in the case.
The rape provoked outrage across the country while opposition parties asked Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to step down on moral grounds.