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Driver held for car gang-rape

Police have arrested the driver of the car in which a 13-year-old girl was gang-raped on Sunday night in central Calcutta.

Akhtar Hossain, a co-accused, drives vehicles for a private agency.

Unlike previous accounts that she was raped in a moving car, the girl told the police that the incident happened in a parked vehicle, said an officer on Thursday.

“The girl has changed her statement. She now says the car was parked and there were two persons inside it other than the driver. We are yet to ascertain if Hossain raped her,” a senior investigator said.

“Hossain has been charged with gang-rape too (since more than one person were present). The car has been seized,” said joint police commissioner (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh.

The police said Hossain, in his late 20s, was picked up from Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road after prime accused Mohammad Anwar told investigators the driver’s complicity in the crime.

Anwar, who works in an eatery off Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, had initially given the police a fictitious registration number of the vehicle that he was “simply referring to as a red car”. “He wanted to send us on a wild goose chase but we found the right number juggling the digits he had given. We zeroed in on a red Chevrolet Tavera that is regularly parked on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road at night,” the officer added.

The owner, Azam Siddique of Collin Street, had let out his vehicle for commercial use and engaged Hossain of Elliot Lane as the driver.

“Despite being his off day (Sunday), Hossain was asked to pick up some people from an Elgin Road restaurant and drop them at Belghoria. After completing his assignment, he parked the car in front of a jewellery store on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. He was sleeping in the car when Anwar approached him,” an officer of Park Street police station said.

Anwar had allegedly offered Hossain Rs 200 to use the car for an hour.

The police said Anwar, 35, woke up the girl sleeping in an auto-rickshaw parked on the same road and lured her with food to accompany him to the Tavera. The teenager was allegedly raped and dumped around 3.30am near the Ripon Street shanty where she lives.

“The girl spends the night at a shelter run by an NGO on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and lives with her mother at a shanty on Ripon Street during the day,” an officer had said.

But the police didn’t explain on Thursday why she was sleeping in an auto.