Mysuru rape accused held earlier in theft cases: Report

Mysuru gang-rape accused arrested earlier in theft cases: Report

Bhupathi got bail in the latest sandalwood theft and smuggling case on January 30

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

A few days after five of the six accused in the Mysuru gang-rape case were arrested, it has emerged that the key accused was arrested mutiple times earlier in sandalwood theft and smuggling cases and he was released on bail recently, according to a report by The Indian Express. 

With this, the police are now looking at the possibility of the sandalwood theft gang’s involvement in other attacks and robberies in Mysuru.

Also Read — Mysuru gang-rape case: Police arrest 5 people

A key accused in the gang-rape of a student and assault on her male friend in Lalithadripura near Chamundi Hills road of Mysuru, Bhupathi, alias Keeri (24), a resident of Talavadi town in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district, was nabbed along with three others on January 8 after Mysuru police seized 40 kg sandalwood pieces worth Rs 5.5 lakh from a car with Tamil Nadu registration. "He was on the (police) radar, but not for crimes against women. He was out on bail," the officer added.

In 2019, Bhupathi and an associate, Praveen Kumar, alias Thambi, 20, were accused of stealing sandalwood trees from the premises of Sandalwood Oil Factory and the Forest Department, respectively, in Mysuru. In another case registered last year, the duo was accused of stealing a sandalwood tree from the home of a Mysuru resident named Chirag Mehta on July 9-10 night.

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Bhupathi got bail in the latest sandalwood theft and smuggling case on January 30, while he was released on bail in the earlier cases on February 26 this year.

According to the report, a bus ticket for travel between Talavadi in Tamil Nadu and Chamarajnagar, Karnataka, was a vital clue that led to the arrest of Bhupathi and four other suspects from Tamil Nadu on August 28.  Police sources told the publication that the ticket found at the crime scene and cell tower information of Tamil Nadu phones that were in use at the crime spot led police to the suspects.

Also Read — No cases against earlier crimes made us commit rape, Mysuru gang-rape accused tell cops

Bhupathi and Praveen Kumar were due to attend a court hearing in connection with the sandalwood theft cases on August 27 this year, as per the report. 

“The accused are between 17 and 28 years. They have confessed to having committed similar crimes in the past and were confident they would not get caught because of fear of exposure among victims,” a source told the publication, adding that the police suspect the accused recorded videos and were blackmailing victims to prevent police reports. The Forensic Science Laboratory team is looking at the mobile phones of the accused, the source added. 

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