Ranchi, Aug. 25: Latehar police has detained 12 suspects in the gang-rape of the lady constable on National Highway 75 in the small hours of August 22, which now appears to be a vendetta assault, the motive for which is now being kept under wraps.
The policewoman in her 30s, the widow of a constable killed in a Maoist attack of 2011, was carrying the body of her sister for cremation to Garhwa with other relatives when she was viciously attacked.
Director-general of police Rajeev Kumar reached Latehar around 1pm to monitor the probe.
“We went to the site of the crime. It appears only the vehicle in which the victim was travelling had been stopped. The victim’s younger sister was with her, but she was spared. We think the victim may have been targeted. Investigations are on in the right direction and culprits will be nabbed soon,” Kumar told The Telegraph.
Sources said the victim, now in Latehar, had identified two of those detained.
Though Latehar superintendent of police Michael S. Raj stayed tight-lipped on the progress of the investigation, he said the police had detained 12 suspects.
“We had detained five yesterday and started questioning them. Seven have been rounded up today,” he said.
A clue to the case may be found in the murder of the rape victim’s sister. Unidentified gunmen had killed the constable’s sister and brother-in-law, a wanted man, in Argora, Ranchi, on the night of August 20. The rape victim and her family got the news of the murder on August 21 morning, took the body of the woman and set off for Garhwa’s Bhandaria village, about 300km from Ranchi, the same evening.
When the vehicle reached Jagaldaga near Latehar police station, the road was found blocked with stones. As the car stopped, unidentified men — the number is not yet clear — robbed the family members and then dragged the constable out, took her into the nearest forest and raped her.
Police have found her bag with her ID card in the forest.
This year, till July end, the state has reported 758 cases of rape, including those of minors. In 2012, the state had reported 812 rapes.
DGP Kumar, however, denied that rapes were on the rise. “It is a heinous crime, but I don’t think numbers are increasing. Rather, awareness among people is more, which is why more cases are getting reported,” Kumar said.