No breakthrough in Kolkata rape case

Published - February 18, 2012 12:51 am IST - KOLKATA:

The city police investigating the alleged rape of a 37-year-old woman in a moving car in the heart of the city early on February 6 are yet to make a breakthrough in the case, with senior officials saying on Friday that they are yet to come up with conclusive evidence indicating the presence of those accused at the site of the incident.

In a bid to recreate the events leading to the alleged rape, the police, on Thursday evening, took the victim to the night club on Park Street where she had befriended one of the accused before accepting a lift.

“Her version [to the police on Thursday] was more or less the same as stated in her complaint,” Damayanti Sen, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), told journalists.

Ms. Sen reiterated that “something must have occurred in the early hours of February 6 and police are thoroughly investigating all aspects.”

Medical report inconclusive

The victim was medically examined on February 14 at a city hospital and the report mentioned “diffused bruises” on the shoulders, neck and knee but police officials said these were inconclusive to prove any sexual assault.

The victim had also alleged that the police misbehaved with her when she had gone to the local thana to lodge a complaint.

This has heightened the public outrage triggered by the incident.

In what appeared to be an attempt to save face in the backdrop of growing criticism of the police,

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday that the incident was “entirely staged” to “malign her government.”

Barely two hours had passed when R.K. Pachnanda, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, asserted that “there are attempts to criticise the government and the police over the issue.”

Transport Minister and close aide of Ms. Banerjee, Madan Mitra, told a local television channel that the victim had liquor before the incident.

Mr. Mitra wondered why a mother would go to a nightclub.

Judicial probe sought

In a strongly worded statement, condemning the remarks of both the Chief Minister and Mr. Mitra, national secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) Kavita Krishnan said: “With the police having strong incentives for bias towards the investigation, and the Chief Minister and Cabinet Minister launching a personal and patriarchal offensive on the rape complainant, justice and truth are bound to be casualties.

“The AIPWA demands a time-bound judicial probe into the rape complaint and charges of harassment by police officers.” An AIPWA fact-finding team will soon attempt to meet the complainant, and AIPWA has called for protests against the patriarchal offensive by the West Bengal CM and Government against the rape complainant,” the statement said.

Central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Mohd Salim, also had strong words against both the Chief Minister and the police chief for their remarks. None can cast aspersions on the character of the woman, he said, adding that neither Ms. Banerjee nor Mr. Pachnanda could rubbish the allegation.

Police yet to get conclusive proof linking the accused to the site of the incident

Women's association slams remarks of Mamata and Transport Minister

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