Brutally gang-raped by four persons in a moving bus in south Delhi on Sunday night, a 23-year-old woman is now battling for life at the Safdarjung Hospital here. The girl’s male friend was also assaulted, stripped and then thrown off the bus along with her near the Mahipalpur flyover in south-west Delhi.

While the police have rounded up six persons on suspicion of their involvement, they have impounded a bus from Noida suspecting it to be the one in which the crime was committed.

The girl and her friend took an autorickshaw to a bus shelter in Munirka on Outer Ring Road after visiting a mall in Saket. There they boarded a “contract-carriage” luxury bus going toward Palam at around 9.30 p.m.

The bus, which the police said had tinted glasses, had only four other passengers besides the couple. The police believe that the other passengers were acquainted with the bus driver and the cleaner.

“ When some of the passengers passed nasty remarks at the girl, an argument ensued between them and her friend, who was beaten up with iron rods by the four men,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) Chhaya Sharma.

The group then pounced on the girl, dragged her into the driver’s cabin where they forced themselves on her. They also robbed the two victims of their belongings before throwing them off the bus on National Highway-8 near the Mahipalpur flyover around 10.15 p.m., almost six km from where the couple had boarded the bus.

Shocked and numbed, the victims were barely able to raise an alarm when they were spotted by a security guard deployed at a nearby construction site, who immediately called up the police suspecting that something was amiss as they two had sustained injuries and were bleeding.

The police reached the spot and rushed the injured victims to Safdarjung Hospital where the girl is currently on ventilator support, the police said. According to sources in the hospital, the girl, who mainly received injuries on her face and stomach, was bleeding profusely when she was brought in for treatment.

The police have collected CCTV footage of a white coloured bus which they suspect is the one inside which the crime was committed. Ms. Sharma has appealed to the public seeking information leading to the identification and whereabouts of the vehicle shown in the footage that has been released.

While efforts are being made to locate the vehicle, Ms. Sharma said, such buses are usually rented out to private offices or schools who run them as chartered buses for their employees or students. “We have zeroed in on 60 such buses so far and impounded some for further investigations,” she said.

According to the police investigations so far have pointed out that it being a Sunday, there is a possibility that the bus was not on duty and the driver, the cleaner and other staff were carrying passengers in an unauthorised manner to earn some extra bucks.

A case of abduction and gang rape against unidentified offenders has been registered and it was learnt that some suspects were being quizzed.

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