Two including ex-cop arrested in Puri gangrape case

Two including ex-cop arrested in Puri gangrape case

Representative Image. Photo by REUTERS

Two of the four persons, including a former constable, accused of raping a minor girl in Puri town were arrested on Tuesday and the police said the case was taken up on a priority basis and a charge sheet will be filed in 20 days.

The opposition BJP and Congress demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the surge in crime against women in the state, while the ruling BJD urges other parties not to politicise the "sensitive case".

Within hours of the girl lodging a complaint at Kumbharpada police station in the temple town, two persons including a dismissed police constable were arrested, Director General of Police Satyajit Mohanty said.

Four teams have been formed for conducting raids to trace the two other accused who are still at large, he said.

"We will give justice to the girl. No accused person will be spared whoever he may be," Mohanty said.

The girl was allegedly gang-raped on Monday by two persons, including former policeman Jitendra Sethi, inside a police quarter that was allotted to his wife, also a constable.

"He used to be a constable of Puri Police but was dismissed in February," the DGP said.

Mohanty said the rape survivor claimed she is minor and accordingly, a case has been registered against the accused under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act besides the IPC.

"There are ways to verify the age of any person during the investigation," he said in reply to a question.

Meanwhile, DIG, Central Range, Asish Singh, who rushed to Puri after the incident was reported at Kumbahrpada police station, said, "We will seek conduct of the trial in a fast- track court. Chargesheet will be filed within 20 days as the case has been taken up on a priority basis."

The girl's statement was recorded in the presence of a magistrate, he said.

Nine cases had earlier been lodged against Jitendra Sethi and he was dismissed from service in February for misconduct, the DIG said adding that one of the cases was filed by his wife alleging torture for dowry.

The police quarter where the crime was committed had been allotted to the dismissed constable's wife who is also a constable working in Puri, police sources said.

Another case would be registered against Jitendra Sethi for using the police identity card even after being dismissed from service, the sources said.

The victim, during the sexual assault, grabbed the wallet of one of the accused and his identity card inside it. It was found later that the card belonged to Jitendra Sethi.

While waiting at Nimapara bus stand, around 30 km from Puri, the girl was offered a lift by Sethi who identified himself as a policeman, and his friends. They took her to the temple town and allegedly raped her.

The girl had claimed that she was raped by two persons while two others left from the scene after closing the door from outside. She managed to flee from the police quarter as the accused were in an inebriated condition.

Meanwhile, the BJP and the Congress lambasted the state government over the rising incidents of rape and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who also holds the Home portfolio.

Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Pradipta Kumar Naik of the BJP said, "I demand the resignation of the chief minister. He has no moral right to continue. A minor girl is raped by a policeman in a police quarter. The state government has completely failed in checking such incidents."

BJD spokesperson Srimoyee Mishra, "It is a sensitive case. Please do not politicise it. The investigation is on the right track. The government will take appropriate action."

Besides opposition political parties, students' and women's organisations took out separate rallies in Bhubaneswar to protest against the Puri incident.