Even as the Bihar police arrested Akshay Thakur, the sixth accused in the Delhi gang-rape case, on Friday evening, doctors at Safdarjung Hospital detected early signs of possible septicaemia (blood poisoning) in the victim.

Giving an update on her health on Friday, Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. B.D. Athani said: “We are seeing early signs of possible infection in the blood, the liver function also seems to be compromised while the platelet count has dropped further. The good news is that the patient has been taken off the ventilator and is now breathing on her own.”

The woman continues to be in the intensive care unit and is being administered antibiotics and other fluids intravenously. “She is still in a very critical condition,” Dr. Athani added. He requested well wishers and others to keep the hospital area protest and demonstration free. “ People should free the hospital from protests. It should not serve as an obstacle for others, movement of ambulance and supply line vehicles. Peaceful atmosphere should be maintained on the hospital premises. A total of 3,000 patients are admitted to various blocks in the hospital and protests should not affect them.”

Dr. Athani added that even the victim’s parents had expressed their desire to be allowed privacy. “Allow the family to take care of their daughter who is in the ICU battling for her life.”

Meanwhile, agency reports said the male friend of the girl who was with her when the assault took place met her for the first time in hospital on Thursday night during which she enquired from him about the accused.

“Interrogation is on”

Meanwhile, the Bihar police on Friday arrested Akshay Thakur, 22, in Lahang Karmar village in Bihar’s Aurangabad district. The police told The Hindu that he has admitted to his presence at the scene of the crime.

“We arrested him from his home after we received inputs. A joint raid was conducted by us along with the Delhi police. Our interrogation is on,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Pranav Kumar Praveen.

Thakur, whose father Sarju Singh is a small farmer in the village, worked as a bus conductor in Delhi. The Delhi police will seek Thakur’s transit remand from the chief judicial magistrate, Aurangabad, on Friday night after which Thakur will be taken to Delhi, Mr. Kumar said.

The fifth accused, who had been evading arrest for almost four days, was picked up in Delhi on Thursday night.

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar was the first to break the news on his handle@delhipolice2 with an early morning tweet: “Fifth accused arrested in the rape case. His age being verified before giving details. If minor, we have to hold back his particulars as per law.”