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Swiss diplomat rape clues lead to robbery arrest

New Delhi, Nov. 11: A smart, English-speaking youth — that’s what the description was. And he fitted it to the hilt.

Last night, Delhi police, chasing the clues they had got about the man who raped a Swiss diplomat last month, picked up 24-year-old Navdeep Randhawa after a tip-off. But, at the end of the day, police were both delighted and disheartened.

Police officials said though the economics graduate from Pune’s Fergusson College accepted that he was present at a restaurant near Siri Fort auditorium the day the 35-year-old diplomat was abducted from the parking lot and raped, he denied involvement in the crime.

But his confessions have helped the police solve another case — the robbery and shootout at the Swiss Airlines office in the Connaught Place area on August 27.

Randhawa was arrested from his East End Apartment house in the Mayur Vihar-I area of East Delhi, deputy commissioner (crime branch) Depender Pathak said at a news conference this afternoon. The police official claimed that Randhawa has admitted to the shootout in the Swiss Airlines office in the World Trade Tower and robbery of Rs 14,000 and a mobile phone.

Pathak said they were chasing Randhawa in the diplomat rape case, but during interrogation found that he was involved in the robbery. “We received a tip-off” about one East Delhi-based person moving around suspiciously and also about “his presence near Siri Fort on the fateful day (of the rape of the Swiss diplomat)”, he said.

“His movement towards Siri Fort side on October 14 and his possible involvement in the case is further being looked into,” the officer said. Randhawa, he added, was at a shop of a famous coffee chain near the auditorium but has so far denied involvement in the rape.

The police described Randhawa as “a young, flamboyant, well-educated English-speaking youngster who has acquired bad habits”. According to the police, Randhawa said he came from a royal family and his father, Kunwar Vijay Singh, owned a fort in the Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana. Randhawa, who was a student of Lawrence School at Sanawar, Himachal Pradesh, took admission in engineering at Bharti Vidya Peeth, Pune. But he opted out of the course after a year and went on to complete his graduation in economics from Fergusson College last year.

Randhawa later went back to his parents’ house in Yamuna Nagar but left after differences cropped up and came to Delhi where he stayed with friends.

Pathak said Randhawa told the police he had committed the robbery at the Swiss Airline office out of frustration because he needed money to maintain his flamboyant lifestyle. As Randhawa had revolted against his family, he was not getting any financial assistance from his parents, the officer added.

He used his father’s gun to carry out the sensational robbery, the police said.

The young man got swayed by Delhi’s glamour and glitz and picked up bad habits, the police said, adding that he now claims he is ashamed of whatever he did and has promised never to go astray again.

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