Patna, Jan. 13: Jammu and Kashmir Rifles lance naik Ramesh Kumar and his friend Dinesh Thongial would face speedy trial for their alleged bid to outrage the modesty of a 35-year-old Darjeeling woman, who jumped off a running train on January 3.
Investigating officer of the case — Rajendra Prasad of Ara Government Railway Police — has petitioned the railway magistrate (Ara) to conduct the trial of the accused on a priority basis. “The duo have already been chargesheeted,” he said, adding that he would appeal to the court to conduct hearing on a day-to-day basis.
According to Prasad, the accused have been chargesheeted under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntary causing hurt), 354 (assault on woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 376 (rape) and 34 (common intension) of Indian Penal Code. The chargesheet was filed in the court of railway magistrate Sampat Kumar yesterday. Prasad, a sub-inspector, had to work hard to correlate the sequence of incidents on Dibrugarh-Old Delhi Brahmaputra Mail (14055 Up) near Jagjivan Halt on the Danapur-Mughalsarai section of the East Central Railway. “The victim was giving contradictory statements. It made the task very difficult for the police,” Prasad told The Telegraph over phone from Ara.
The investigations revealed that Ramesh, the J&K lance naik, had boarded the train at New Jalpaiguri station with four other jawans. His ulterior motive came to the fore when he called his friend Dinesh, a driver in a public school in the city, to Patna Junction. “After having lunch together, Ramesh asked Dinesh to accompany him for some time. Thereafter, Ramesh walked up the doors of the train from his reserved berth,” one of the four colleagues of the arrested soldier told the interrogators.
At the same time, the woman travelling on the train ticket examiner’s berth went to the toilet. “What happened there is not known to us. But we later learnt that the woman jumped off the running train somewhere between Ara and Karisath stations,” the J&K Rifles jawan, who has been made a witness in the case, told the GRP officials.
Corroborating the witnesses’ statement, Dinesh said he went to Patna Junction station on the request of his friend and neighbour Ramesh, who was gong to his native village in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. The train left Patna Junction around 1pm and reached Ara at 2pm. Dinesh also admitted that he and Ramesh had boozed on the running train but denied the charge of molesting the Darjeeling woman.
Ramesh also denied the allegations and said he was standing with Dinesh near the doors of the coach when she heard a woman screaming. “I suddenly heard the scream of a woman near the loo (toilet). Before I could react, she ran towards another coach and leaped out of the running train,” he told the interrogators. He said he was posted at Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. “I was going to my native place to spend my holidays. Why should I misbehave with anyone on the train?” he asked.
On the other hand, the victim told the police that Ramesh started harassing her soon after the train left Bihta. “I could not suspect any foul play because several people were travelling in the air-conditioned compartment,” she told the investigators.
In her statement, the woman, a mother of two sons, said she leaped out of the running train to thwart the advances of the tormentors. “I am unaware of what happened with me later. But I still remember that I moved on the tracks on foot for quite sometime and then fainted,” she said, adding that when she gained consciousness, she found herself surrounded by policemen in a hospital.
The victim left for Darjeeling after she was discharged from Patna Medical College and Hospital on January 5.