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Two arrests in school rape

Bangalore, July 29: Two gym coaches, who were among the initial suspects questioned, were arrested today for the alleged rape of a six-year-old in a Bangalore school. A skating instructor arrested earlier was “not directly involved” in the crime but would remain in custody for interrogation, police said.

The arrests of Waseem Pasha, 28, and Lal Giri, 21, have turned the case into gang rape, suggesting the assault at Vibgyor School was even more horrific than thought so far.

The child is in trauma and returned home recently after several weeks in hospital where doctors had detected the assault. “A complaint of rape has turned out to be a case of gang rape after the arrest of two more persons,” M.N. Reddi, the city’s new police chief who took over a day after skating instructor Mustafa’s arrest, said today.

The police also said their investigation had revealed the alleged crime occurred on July 3, not July 2 as believed so far.

Mustafa was picked up on July 20 when Reddi’s predecessor Raghavendra Auradkar faced public protests against lack of action. Auradkar was shunted out the next day.

The police had then claimed to have found child porn on Mustafa’s laptop and cellphone. Reddi, asked about the shifting line of investigation, argued that Mustafa was arrested on the basis of “circumstantial evidence available at that point of time”.

Mustafa would continue to be interrogated over his “indirect” involvement and because he was sacked over alleged “misconduct” with girl students at another school, Deens Academy, in 2011. That incident came to light during the investigations into the assault at Vibgyor.

“The initial suspicion was on Mustafa in terms of the conduct, behaviour and some circumstantial evidence like the material found in his personal possession,” Reddi said.

Pasha and Giri have been held on the basis of “sufficient circumstantial evidence” of their involvement in the gang rape, Reddi said.

“The investigators have taken more time to solve this case as it involves a little child who is already traumatised by the crime and could not be repeatedly questioned. But we have evidence against the gym instructors,” he said.

Other officers said Mustafa, Pasha and Giri were among eight school staff members quizzed initially. Two, including a guard and a gym instructor that police sources indicated was Pasha, were detained before the cops zeroed in on Mustafa.

Pasha and Giri, picked up last night, have been charged with rape under Section 376D of the IPC (intercourse by any member of the management or staff of an institution with a victim in that institution) and the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

Investigations would continue to determine if more people are directly or indirectly involved, Abhishek Goyal, deputy commissioner of police, crime branch, said.