Four held for US woman’s gang-rape, DCW seeks status report

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) Four persons, including a tourist guide, have been arrested here on charges of sexually assaulting a US tourist here earlier this year, police said on Monday. Meanwhile the DCW sought a status report from police and asked why it was not informed when the victim’s statement was recorded.

Aniruddha Singh, a Nepal-based tourist guide, Omprakash, Maqsood and Vivek were arrested from different cities during raids conducted by Delhi Police on separate occasions, police said.

“On the complaint of a Delhi-based NGO, we contacted the victim and filed a case on the basis of her statement. During our inquiry, we conducted several raids in Delhi and other cities and arrested four persons,” Joint Commissioner of Police Dependra Pathak told IANS.

Pathak said that a case was registered just two hours after the victim gave a statement through email. “We investigated the case professionally and recorded the victim’s statement last week when she arrived in Delhi from America,” he said.

Among the other accused, Omprakash was a driver, Maqsood a helper and Vivek a bellboy at the hotel where the crime occurred. Police initially identified Vivek by the duty register of room service as he was first to enter the victim’s room on the day of crime, police said.

As per her complaint, the 30-year-old American tourist was gang-raped at a luxury hotel in first week of April this year.

Delhi Police had registered an FIR early this month on the complaint of the woman as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj intervened in the matter.

Pathak said that the accused have denied the charge but police will seek their custody from court for further interrogation. A test identification parade may also be held if necessary.

Meanwhile the victim’s advocate Mritunjay, who had earlier said that both he and his client were unhappy with the status of the probe, told IANS that he was still “not happy” with police’s efforts.

“There is a delay in arrests even as the accused were identified by police in the initial days (after the complaint). The accused persons should have been arrested earlier. There were five accused as per my client’s statement in the case and the fifth one is moving free now,” he said.

Meanwhile the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) asked why police did not inform its Rape Crisis Cell when they recorded the victim’s statements on December 20.

“Such instances defame India. Confidence of women in police decreases. Police should have obeyed directions of High Court and called DCW counsellor,” DCW chief Swati Maliwal tweeted.

In a notice sent to Deputy Commissioner of Police of New Delhi district, Maliwal said that the commission got to know, through news reports, that the victim has found the investigation process of the case unsatisfactory.

The victim had filed a police complaint with the help of a NGO early December, saying the give accused drugged her and sexually assaulted her for two days and also made an MMS.