The police have announced a reward of Rs. 2 lakh for any information on the three suspects in the Manipal gang-rape case involving a medical student who was abducted from the Manipal University campus on June 20 by three persons in an autorickshaw and sexually assaulted.
Addressing presspersons here, Pratap Reddy, IGP (Western Range), said the identity of the informant would be kept confidential. After the police released the sketch of one of the suspects, they received five to six local calls and two to three calls from Kerala claiming they had seen the suspect. Though the police questioned seven persons bearing a resemblance to the sketch, neither one of them was the suspect.
To a question, Mr. Reddy said the accused could have gone to other States and not just Kerala. “We have spoken to senior police officers in Kerala and sought their cooperation,” he said.
Mr. Reddy said the police had questioned 30 persons in the last one day taking the total number of those questioned to 47. Those questioned included not just autorickshaw drivers but also anti-social elements and rowdy-sheeters. The police are yet to verify 3,000 autorickshaws out of a total of 10,000 in the district. In order to quicken the process of verification, the police had sought the help of the Regional Transport Office. This verification was likely to be completed in the next two days.
The police appealed for more cooperation from autorickshaw drivers and their unions to identify the autorickshaw used in the incident. The police had only questioned and not harassed or detained drivers, he said.
The CCTV footage of the abduction of the student was shown to presspersons at the press conference. The first part of the footage showed a guard chasing the autorickshaw after the abduction on the Manipal University campus.
The second showed the autorickshaw moving down the Valley View Northern-Side Road. The third showed the autorickshaw coming back (after the gang-rape) on Valley View Northern-Side Road. The fourth showed the autorickshaw moving through the campus.
Mr. Reddy said the police were trying to further enhance the quality of the images so that they could trace the motorcycle riders who passed the autorickshaw on the night of June 20 and get them as witnesses.
Mr. Reddy said the student was physically stable. However, the counsellors were of the opinion that she was in trauma. The police are yet to get the medical report. The doctor treating her had said that she was reluctant to talk to the police. “We will investigate at the comfort and convenience of the student. We are following her wishes,” he said.
Mr. Reddy said the victim had not made a statement. “Not having a statement is a big problem. Any investigation depends on a statement.”.
Sharing more details of the abduction, he said that while one person drove the autorickshaw to the spot where the student was allegedly gang-raped, another person had driven the autorickshaw back to the flat. The sketch released by the police on June 24 was of the suspect who had driven her back.
Meanwhile, protests against the gang-rape continued here for the fifth successive day.