Officials also said that the accused will be tried in a fast-track court under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Pune City Police officials on Wednesday said they will seek the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the horrific abduction and gangrape case of a 14-year-old minor, considering the seriousness of the crime. Officials also said that the accused will be tried in a fast-track court under provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “We will be seeking the appointment of a special public prosecutor in the case. As per the existing framework of cases under POCSO Act, the accused will be tried in a fast-track special court.”
Section 24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure empowers state and central governments to appoint a lawyer with more than 10 years experience as a special public prosecutor.
The 14-year-old girl, who had gone to Pune railway station on the night of August 31 to travel outside the city 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 gangraped at different places in the city for the next several hours by the auto-rickshaw driver and his accomplices.
Police started probing the case after the father of the girl registered a missing case on September 1. They initially arrested eight persons, including two employees of Indian Railways and five auto-rickshaw drivers. Later, police arrested five more accomplices of the eight accused. A 20-year-old acquaintance of the girl, who had taken her to Chandigarh after being released by the perpetrators, has also been arrested. The girl was traced by the police on September 5 in Chandigarh, when she was with the acquaintance.
A senior officer, who is part of the investigation, said, “One of the crucial aspects of the probe is to establish the detailed sequence of events along with details of the involvement of each of the perpetrators. For this, we are relying on footage from security cameras installed at various places, details gathered from the interrogation of the suspects and the victim’s statement. We have recorded the initial statement of the victim. We will again be speaking to her – at the right point in time considering her condition – to fill some of the blanks in the timeline.”
“Our probe has revealed that the perpetrators threatened to harm her and her family… the perpetrators, who are friends, kept changing places and used their own auto-rickshaws to take her from one place to another. The girl has also been raped inside the rickshaw,” added the officer.
Of the 13 perpetrators, 10 are auto-rickshaw drivers, two are employees of the Indian Railways and one is a repairman.
When asked about the two Railway employees who are among the accused, the officer said, “They are friends of the other perpetrators. The girl was taken to them on the pretext of helping her book tickets for her at a later stage.”
Investigation has also revealed that one of the sites where the minor was raped was an office of the Indian Railways. Asked about this, the police officer said, “That remains a part of the probe. Examination and panchnamas of the places used by them is currently on.”
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