The second suspected perpetrator in the brutal rape of the five-year-old girl, who is under treatment at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the Capital, was arrested at Lakhisarai in Bihar in the early hours of Monday.

Nineteen-year-old Pradeep Kumar was tracked down to his maternal uncle’s place at Barahiya village and arrested around 1.30 a.m. The accused was produced before the Lakhisarai Chief Judicial Magistrate who granted his transit remand to the Delhi Police. After his medical examination and other formalities, the police team boarded a Delhi-bound flight from Patna that was scheduled to arrive here around 10.30 p.m.

Speaking to the media in Patna, accused Pradeep confessed to his involvement, stating that he had committed a “grave mistake”. At a press conference in Patna later, Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) Ravindra Kumar said Pradeep had been working as a construction labourer in Delhi for the past four years.

Stating that the accused was unlettered, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said Pradeep would be interrogated to ascertain the sequence of events leading up to the incident.

Main accused Manoj Sah (22) was earlier arrested from his in-laws’ place at Muzaffarpur in Bihar this past Saturday. Preliminary investigations have revealed that on the fateful day he, along with Pradeep, consumed liquor at Loni in Uttar Pradesh. They returned to Manoj’s rented accommodation in Gandhi Nagar where they again purportedly had liquor.

“Manoj was in an inebriated state when he saw the girl, who lives with her family on the first floor of the same building, and lured her into his room on the ground floor. We suspect that the two then subjected her to unnatural sex and then Manoj attempted to strangle her. Suspecting the victim had died, the two accused fled from the spot and boarded the Swatrantrata Senani Express and reached Manoj’s hometown via Chhapra. They then parted ways. While Manoj headed to his in-laws’ house, Pradeep took refuge at the residence of his maternal uncle in Lakhisarai,” said a Delhi Police source.

While protests against police apathy in the case by the political, student and social organisations continued in different parts of the Capital on Monday, doctors at AIIMS said the victim’s condition had improved and she had finally started showing signs of gradual recovery.