The taxi driver accused of raping a young woman after offering her a helping hand at Howrah station on Saturday evening has been arrested.
Within 24 hours of the 23-year-old woman from Burdwan lodging a complaint, Muchipara police on Monday rounded up Gautam Rai from a hideout on Premchand Boral Street.
The man in his mid-twenties, with a squint in his left eye, was found in a small room in the dingy lane, similar to the one in which he had raped the woman on Saturday night.
'The victim started screaming and hurling abuses while identifying Gautam,' said Ajay Kumar, deputy police commissioner (central).
A reconstruction of events suggest that the cabbie offered the lone woman ' from Burdwan's Morolpara village, under Sarkarhat post office ' a ride into town from Howrah station. Gautam took the woman around town, before coming to a halt at a house on Premchand Boral Street around 10.30 pm. He appears to have known Chandra Prasad Yadav, who let him to use his room.
'Gautam put the girl in the room, locked it from outside and went to attend a small function at a Shiva mandir off Premchand Boral Street, where some of his acquaintances were watching a film on video. Here, he had a drink before returning to the room. He raped the girl and stayed put in the room through the night. In the morning, he just walked away,' said a senior officer of Muchipara thana.
All that the victim could tell sleuths was that her assailant had a squint in his left eye. Starting from Howrah station, they tried to retrace their steps to 'a place where music could be heard, where several women were seen standing on the streets and where a goat was tied to a pole outside the house where she had been confined and raped'.
The spot was identified as Premchand Boral Street.
Back at the Howrah taxi stand, sleuths learnt that 'the man with a squint' would 'operate only at night', ferrying women to and from the station. 'Some others confirmed that he lived somewhere off College Street,' said an officer.
Once at Premchand Boral Street, sleuths traced the spot where a function had been organised on Saturday night and music was played. The place adjacent to a Shiva temple, where a video show had been on, was also identified.
There, police picked up pointers to the identity and hideout of 'the local taxi driver with a squint who would make his living ferrying girls to and from Premchand Boral Street'.
Sleuths also learnt of a small room on Premchand Boral Street where he would spend time with a woman.
Sure enough, Gautam Rai was found holed up there.