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Gangraped college student names driver as main accused


Press Trust of India Bhawanipatna/Bhubaneswar
The college student who was gangraped in Odisha's Kalahandi district nearly two weeks ago, on Friday named a bus driver as the main culprit, prompting the police to launch a fresh probe.
The fresh allegation by the 22-year-old woman came two days after the police arrested six persons, including a juvenile, for allegedly raping her in a forest near Junagarh on September 14. Three others were also apprehended for uploading a video of the act on social media.
She claimed that a bus driver, who was known to him, had given her lift in his bike before the incident and he raped her first.
"Though nine people have been arrested, the bus driver was not one of them. He is the main accused. He was the first to rape me and the police should arrest him forthwith," the woman told local television channels.
The rape survivor also threatened to commit suicide if the bus driver is not apprehended.
Kalahandi Superintendent of Police B Gangadhar said a police team was sent to record a fresh statement of the woman, a resident of Koksara area and student of a private nursing college in Junagarh, as she had not named the driver earlier.
It is possible that she might have missed the name of the bus driver earlier, as she was under trauma after the gangrape, the SP said.
"Fresh investigation is being conducted and the appropriate action will be taken on the basis of the statement the woman gives to the police team now," he said.
The woman was gangraped on the afternoon of September 14 in Jaring forest area, 6 kilometres from Junagarh along the NH-26. She lodged an FIR late on the night of September 22 at Junagarh police station after which the police arrested nine persons.
The rape survivor had apparently kept silent out of fear and shame and approached the police after a video of the crime went viral on social media, police said.
The woman had been to Bhawanipatna for a health checkup on September 14 and was waiting at a bus stand to return to Junagarh when the bus driver offered her a lift in his motor-cycle.
"On the way, he got several calls on his mobile phone and he suddenly slowed down and virtually stopped the bike near a temple at Banamalipur. Over six persons appeared and dragged me into the forest. The driver raped me first and then the others," the woman said in her fresh claim.
Following fresh charges made by the rape survivor, BJP state general secretary Lekhasri Samantasinghar accused the police of sparing the driver following pressure from the ruling BJD.
Claiming that the main accused was the driver of a bus owned by a BJD leader in Kalahandi, the BJP leader alleged that local BJD leaders including minister Dibya Shankar Mishra are trying to shield him.
Mishra denied the charge and said the issue is sensitive and should not be politicised.

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First Published: Sep 27 2019 | 8:51 PM IST

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