A middle-aged railway employee was raped allegedly by a group of about five persons in her house at the railway quarters here on Thursday night after being reportedly drugged and gagged.

While the Keshwapur police have booked a case and are questioning people, including her close relative, different versions about the incident are making the rounds, including that of the act being perpetrated because of a property dispute.

The 46-year-old victim, who is in a state of shock, has been admitted to the Railway Hospital, where Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissioner B.A. Padmanayan and Dharwad Deputy Commissioner Sameer Shukla met her and sought details about the incident.

Addressing presspersons at the Railway Hospital after meeting the victim, Mr. Shukla said that the group barged into her house around 11.30 p.m. on Thursday night and forced her to drink some liquid.

“She said that she didn’t know what happened subsequently and that she regained consciousness around 4 p.m. Her son, who had gone to Mysore, called her and she answered the phone call incoherently which made him suspect that something was wrong. The son alerted the neighbours and it was only after they rushed to see her that the incident came to light,” he said. The Deputy Commissioner said that there were bruises and cuts on the thighs of the victim, which indicated sexual assault. “However, it is too early for us to come to a conclusion if she was raped. It can be confirmed only after the results of tests are out,” he said.

Mr. Shukla said that samples had been taken and they would be sent to Bangalore for forensic tests. It would take 15 days for the test results to come, he said.

He said that according to the victim the attackers wore masks.

To a query on the suspicion of the role of one of the son-in-laws of the victim who was the last person to visit the house, Mr. Shukla said that the police had begun questioning some people.

Earlier, Mr. Padmanayan, who met the victim and interacted with her neighbours, clarified that they were only investigating now and had not taken anyone into custody.

Though the hospital sources revealed that there had been a sexual assault on the victim, they said that they would be able to confirm it only after the test results.

Apathy

Meanwhile, councillor Suvarna Kallakuntla, who was the first to reach the victim’s house after being alerted by neighbours, alleged that the police failed to turn up at the spot immediately even after being alerted. They initially behaved as if nothing of that sort had happened, he said. “As the ambulance was delayed, we were forced to bring the victim to hospital in an autorickshaw,” she charged.

The victim, who was given a job in the Railways after her husband’s death, reportedly owned some property and had difference of opinion with her second son-in-law, the sources revealed.

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