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Net friend arrested on rape charge

A 22-year-old youth was arrested for the alleged rape of a first-year college student he had befriended over a year ago on a social networking site.

The “friend” was taken into custody after the girl, in her early 20s, lodged a complaint with Garfa police station on Monday night.

According to police sources, accused Subhadip Paul, who is from Durgachak in East Midnapore district, was staying in a paying guest accommodation at Palbazar in Garfa. He is pursuing a course in animation from an institute at Santoshpur.

“The complainant said she was raped at the boy’s rented accommodation on Monday afternoon where she had gone following an invitation from him,” said an officer of Garfa police station.

“It was the first time that the two Net friends had met.”

The police have found during investigation that no one else, barring the boy and the girl, was in the house during the time of the crime.

“They had planned several times in the past to meet but the first meeting materialised on Monday afternoon,” said an officer.

Sources said the girl had returned home and didn’t raise the alarm immediately. But late in the evening, she started feeling unwell and told her parents about the “hell she went through in the afternoon”.

Soon after, she and her father went to the police station to register a complaint.

After a medical examination, police said, she was admitted to MR Bangur Hospital.

Subhadip has been charged with IPC Section 376 and if found guilty, he could be jailed for life.

He was produced before a magistrate and remanded in police custody for interrogation.

Subhadip has pleaded not guilty and apparently told the police that the “physical intimacy was consensual”. But the law, in cases of crime against women, gives prominence to the victim’s statement.

This was the second case within a span of a week where “friends” have been arrested for rape.

Last week, Jadavpur police arrested a radio operator with the merchant navy after his childhood “friend” lodged a complaint of rape.

She had alleged that her friend raped her twice on March 13 at a hotel in Kasba and again at a Patuli hotel where they stayed from March 14 to 19.

After checking out of the hotel, she had lodged a complaint with Jadavpur police.