In what is a welcome aberration of sorts, the Secunderabad railway police doggedly pursued a case of rape of a minor by a 40-year-old history-sheeter, securing a conviction for the accused
The conviction rate in cases of crime — rapes in particular — is abysmal in the country, with investigators and prosecutors blaming several factors for the predicament.
In this backdrop, the Government Railway Police (GRP) of Secunderabad securing conviction for a 40-year-old man, who sexually assaulted a minor, within 13 months of the crime being reported has assumed significance.
From ensuring that the ‘panch’ witnesses did not turn hostile to corroborative forensic evidence, investigators took several precautions to prove the accused was guilty.
The 15-year-old girl from Warangal district had come to Hyderabad last April in search of livelihood.
The girl, who had arrived at the Secunderabad railway station, was waiting at a platform when accused P. Jayaraj approached her.
Posing as a railway official, Jayaraj asked her for her ticket. He tore it off and asked her to follow him. Jayaraj took her to a secluded place on the railway yard and violated her.
In a considerable number of cases, the ‘panch witnesses’ – in whose presence physical evidence is gathered and statements of the accused recorded — turn hostile in the court, resulting in the acquittal of the accused. Hence, selection of the panch witnesses becomes crucial.
Investigators in this case chose two staffers of a Vijaya Dairy outlet, who deposed without any deviation.
A crucial evidence was the video footage recorded by the surveillance cameras, which showed the accused ushering the teenager to the yard from the platform.
Secunderabad railway police Inspector N. Ashok Kumar, who probed the case, presented the visuals before the court.
The victim’s swabs sent to forensic laboratory, which confirmed presence of the spermatozoa of the accused whose sample too was collected. This turned out to be key forensic evidence.
While the investigators carefully gathered evidence, the victim complained to the magistrate in the court that the advocate of the accused was pressurising her to withdraw the case.
A tent house worker, who saw the accused along with the teenager outside the railway station, was also cited as witness.
Jayaraj, who was already facing a murder case and several burglary cases, allegedly intimidated the worker but the latter stuck to his version in the court. All these points became irrefutable evidence against him resulting in his conviction.