Three arrested for alleged gang-rape of Udupi minor
UDUPI: Three bus drivers/conductors, Raghavendra Prabhakara Badigera (35), Yuvraj Kattekaar (35) and Veeraiyya R. Hiremath (41) were arrested for the alleged gang-rape of a 15-year-old minor from Udupi, Karnataka on July 9. The accused were employed by the KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) and were arrested from Ranebennur and Hirekerur bus stations in Haveri district.
On July 6, the victim’s parents had lodged an FIR at the Women’s Police Station in Udupi as their daughter had been missing since the previous morning. The girl was later found at the Sanjay Nagar Police Station in Bengaluru and brought back to Udupi on July 8.
According to the victim, she was visiting her friend in Ranebennur and was waiting for a bus at the Ranebennur bus stand at midnight on July 6. Raghavendra lured her to an empty KSRTC bus at the depot and forced himself upon her. After him, the other two accused also raped her.
On the basis of the victim’s statement, a case was filed under IPC Sections 363 (Punishment for kidnapping), 376 (D) (rape of a woman by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention), 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and Sections 4, 6 of POCSO (Protection of Children against Sexual Offences) Act, 2012. Owing to the sensitivity of the matter, the case has been fast-tracked to the Udupi District Sessions Court.
Although the initial FIR was lodged at Women’s Police Station, the investigation was led by K T Balakrishna, Superintendent of Police, Udupi and his team. “The case is still under investigation hence the chargesheet is yet to be filed. The victim’s mother was the complainant in this case. I am legally bound to maintain secrecy so I cannot divulge much. Since the matter is so sensitive I request the media to exercise caution”, said the SP. He also stated that the KSRTC generally employs private security to guard their premises. Since the incident occurred at midnight, the bus depot was relatively deserted.
Naveenchandra Jogi, Circle Inspector, Udupi who is involved in the investigation said that there was a minimal delay during the primary investigation. Due to the POCSO Act, certain details pertaining to the case are being kept confidential and police officials are unwilling to give out further information.
The accused are currently being held in judicial custody at the Hiriyadka Jail in Udupi district.
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With inputs from Shreya Job, Soumyajit Saha and Takshak Pai.
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