Over the past eight months, a 15-year-old schoolgirl has reported to Thane police that she was raped by 33 persons, including two minors, at various locations in Thane.
Police have seized two juvenile boys and arrested 24 adolescents. “A total of 26 persons have been arrested, including two kids. In a municipal court, twenty-four of them were arraigned.
“Twenty-two of them have been held in police custody till September 29, and the two youngsters have been taken to a juvenile home,” said Sachin Gunjal, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 3).
Investigate the situation
The rest of the suspects are being sought by the police, according to Gunjal. The case will be investigated by a special investigation team (SIT) led by a woman officer with the rank of assistant commissioner of police.
According to the survivor’s complaint filed with Manpada police on Wednesday, it all began in January when a man she was dating threatened to expose their private films and pushed her to have physical intercourse with several of his friends and acquaintances.
Officials connected with the case said that all of the accused raped the girl, a Dombivli (East) resident, at several sites including Dombivli, Murbad, and Badlapur in Thane district, and Rabale in Navi Mumbai, on multiple occasions.
Nudged by her family, the girl called one of the accused to a particular spot on Wednesday and got into a vehicle. The family followed in an autorickshaw. However, the auto broke down after travelling some distance. It was then that the family called the police.
According to authorities, the video was used to blackmail the girl, who was then forced to meet with the other accused, who raped her many times at various locations.
However, the issue was brought to light earlier this month when the survivor confronted a family member about the long-term sexual abuse.
After she told her family about the crime, it was brought to light
The alleged crime was discovered after the victim’s aunt noticed a shift in her personality and feared she was being manipulated. The victim told authorities about her ordeal after being prodded.
According to authorities, the family sought advice from a local social worker, who encouraged them to try to apprehend the persons who were exploiting the girl.
The girl had been able to broadcast her GPS location to her family, and authorities were able to track her down using it. They were able to save the girl and apprehend the two men who were accompanying her. However, the girl had been sexually raped once more by that time.
FIR has been registered
The girl was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation by the police. They filed a FIR, took her statement, and began rounding up the other suspects. All of the 33 defendants mentioned by the child are between the ages of 16 and 23.
According to the FIR, she was assaulted for the first time on January 29. (gangrape), and 376 (3) (rape on a woman under the age of sixteen) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, police added.
Eknath Shinde, the Thane district’s guardian minister and the state’s urban development minister, said he has instructed the Thane police commissioner to take harsh action against all of the suspects.
Detention by the police
Under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation Act, the Manpada police in Dombivli, a town near Mumbai, have detained 29 people, including two kids.
The people that were arrested have been remanded in jail until September 29. The minor offenders were transported to a juvenile detention centre. Three more people are being sought by police.