Gang-rape case

Calcutta, Aug. 19: Police have started a case of gang-rape against three men on the basis of statements by a 22-year-old domestic help from Golf Green.

The woman was allegedly dragged into an abandoned shed and raped when she was returning home from work around 7.30 last evening.

She told the police that apart from Sharif Ali, the prime accused, two others were present. From the trio's conversations, the woman had apparently come to know that the other two men were named Sontai and Babu.

Sontai, a security guard at an under-construction building in the area, had allegedly suggested that the woman be taken to the adjoining shed. Babu had been asked to stand outside and keep watch.

"Based on a Supreme Court directive, we have started a case of gang-rape under Section 376 (2/G) of the Indian Penal Code," an officer said.

While Ali has been arrested, the two others are absconding. The maximum punishment for gang-rape is life imprisonment.

Ali was today remanded in police custody till August 27.

A police officer said: "The preliminary medical report says no external injury or resistance marks were found on the victim. But in keeping with the apex court directive, we are not treating this medical report as clinching evidence. The thrust now will be on witnesses and their statements. The woman's husband could be a key witness."

The police had said yesterday that the woman had bruises all over her body, suggesting "severe assault".

The woman's husband, a resident of Madartala Bustee in the area, had rushed to the shed after an acquaintance informed him that his wife had been dragged inside it by some men.

"The tin door was locked from the inside and outside. The husband broke open the locks and saw Ali and the woman. Her hands and legs had been tied with her sari, according to the husband's statement," the officer said.

Ali's family claimed he had been framed.