Two more persons were arrested on Wednesday in the Ratu gang rape case even as it emerged that seven of the other eight accused earlier held are minors.
Police also said that so far 10 persons, and not nine, appear to be involved in the incident that took place behind a desolate temple in Kamre, where the minor victim from Pandra had gone with a youth on Sunday afternoon.
The two who were arrested on Wednesday are adults.
According to police, Turia (27) and Mangra (19) were picked up from Itki and Banhora, respectively, early in the morning. The third adult held from Banhora on Tuesday has been identified as one Makhu, aged 19.
All the accused were identified by the 16-year-old victim’s friend during a parade on Wednesday.
“Earlier, we had information that nine persons were involved in the crime, but interrogations of the accused revealed that one more was with them at the time of the incident. Both were arrested today. With this, the number of total arrested has gone up to 10. We had launched an operation, Mission 24, to crack the case,” Ranchi SP (rural) S.K. Jha said.
Asked whether police suspected involvement of more people, Jha said investigations were on. “We are trying to find out the background of Turia and Mangra and whether they have any criminal antecedent. The two seem to be the masterminds of the gang rape,” the senior police officer added.
All the minors were forwarded to Ranchi observation home, whereas the other three have been remanded to judicial custody.
However, the police are yet to trace the cellphone that the accused had allegedly used to film the rape.
“Their mobile phones have been seized. They will be sent for forensic test to ascertain whether the alleged video clip was deleted,” Jha said.
Although the incident took place after 5pm on Sunday, the girl’s family filed an FIR on Monday. According to the complaint, the 16-year-old had gone to her coaching centre. After classes got over, she and a youth decided to visit the temple at Kamre, some 23km from the district headquarters.
The alleged rapists, who were loitering near the temple, first began teasing the girl. When she and her friend protested, some of the accused held him captive by brandishing a sharp-edged weapon.
Six of them then dragged the girl a little distance away behind the temple and raped her on the banks of a rivulet. The girl and her friend were held captive till around 8pm.