|A relative of one of the five rape accused outside her shanty in Mumbai’s Dhobighat area on Monday. (AFP)
||Another rape accused’s relative at her home
in Mumbai’s Madanpura area on Monday. (AFP)
|Forensic experts from Gujarat and Delhi leave after examining the rape spot at Shakti Mills on Tuesday. (PTI)
||The crime spot cordoned off inside the
Shakti Mills compound. (PTI)
Mumbai, Aug. 27: The five suspects in the Mumbai gang rape had sexually abused three women at the same place where they took turns to violate the young photojournalist last week, police sources said today.
“The accused have revealed during interrogation that they sexually assaulted three more women in the past on the same premises, but we would like to glean more information and verify the claim with more investigations before saying more,” said an officer who is supervising the crime branch probe into the August 22 gang rape of the 22-year-old.
The sources said the earlier victims included a rag picker and a sex worker. The five had also molested a woman at the deserted Shakti Mills compound, the scene of Thursday’s crime.
The crime branch has identified one more person who was part of the group that hung around the abandoned compound but wasn’t involved in the rape. “An important witness who was sitting with three of them when they were called by another accused to the mill compound has been identified. The call was made around 5.30pm that evening,” the officer said.
The woman, an intern with a magazine, had reached the compound on an assignment sometime around 5.30.
The five accused were taken to Sir JJ Hospital for DNA tests. “The DNA samples collected will be matched with the forensic samples taken from the crime scene and the rape survivor’s vaginal swabs. We have also recovered the undergarments and clothes of the accused. We need to recover a few more things,” the officer said.
The police have also stumbled upon something else: that Qasim Bangali, one of the five suspects, could be a police informer.
Investigators scanning call data records on Qasim’s phone found that since July the 19-year-old had exchanged as many as 80 calls with a particular number. The number turned out to be that of a constable, Salim Mujawar, of Agripada police station.
Mujawar had phoned Qasim late on the night of August 22 and summoned him to the police station for some work. A suspicious Qasim left his house in Kaala Pani slum in Agripada and absconded. He was in hiding when the police arrested him on Monday. The sources said sleuths were probing if Qasim worked as a regular informer for the constable.
A six-member team of forensic scientists from Delhi and Gandhinagar today visited the crime scene at the mill compound. The accused had tried to destroy evidence by forcing their victim to “clean up” the spot where they had raped her.
The forensic experts — four from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, which works with the CBI, and two women scientists from Gandhinagar — spent nearly three-and-a-half hours collecting evidence.
“A new forensic technique called Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) is being used for the first time in this case. This is a specialised analysis being done by the forensic experts from Gandhinagar,” the officer supervising the probe said.
The LVA technique involves asking a suspect questions while experts try to identify stress levels, cognitive processes and emotional reactions reflected in the suspect’s voice.
The analysis, which the sources described as a truth-detection tool, provides a better understanding of a suspect’s mental state. “The results of the analysis are not admissible in court, but could assist investigations,” a police officer said.