One of them deflated the rear tyre of her two-wheeler parked at the toll plaza on the outskirts of Hyderabad. When she returned, two of them offered help. Scared by a truck crew “leering” at her, she took up the offer and waited at the spot. Three of them pounced from behind and dragged her to an abandoned room and raped her. She died of suffocation during the assault. They burned her body at an underpass.
This is the conclusion of police in Hyderabad based on the interrogation of four men who were arrested Friday for the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinary doctor near the Shamshabad toll plaza on Wednesday night.
Those arrested have been identified as Mohammed Areef (26), Jollu Shiva (20), Jollu Naveen (20) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), all truck crew hailing from Narayanpet district. The four have been charged under IPC sections 302 (murder), 375 (rape) and 362 (abduction).
On Friday, a few minutes after Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar announced the arrests, police found the charred remains of another woman near Shamshabad. Based on the crime scene, police said they suspect the involvement of the four arrested in this case, too.
“The accused had consumed alcohol and noticed the veterinary doctor parking her bike at the toll plaza around 6 pm. They hatched a plan and Naveen deflated her scooter’s tyre. When the victim returned, Areef got down from his truck and told her about the flat tyre. After offering to help, Shiva took the bike on the pretext of getting it repaired. Then, Areef, Naveen and Chennakeshavulu forcibly took the victim into an abandoned room nearby, where she was raped,” Sajjanar said.
“During the incident, Areef put his hand over the victim’s mouth, suffocating her. Two of the accused drove away with the body in the truck. The other two went on the victim’s bike to different fuel stations, collecting petrol in bottles. The accused burned the body at the Chatanpally underpass. Areef has been identified as the prime accused,’’ Sajjanar said.
Officers told The Indian Express that police were able to track the accused based on inputs from people, clues from the crime scene and CCTV footage. “Police had formed 10 teams to nab the accused,’’ said an officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Police said the victim, who works at a government veterinary hospital in Mahbubnagar about 60 km away, had parked her two-wheeler at the toll plaza to visit a beauty clinic in Gachibowli.
Providing a timeline, an officer said: “She parked the two-wheeler at the toll gate around 6.15 pm and hired a cab to Gachibowli. She returned around 9 pm to find that her bike had a flat tyre. At 9.22 pm, she called her sister to say that she was scared and asked her to keep speaking to her.”
According to a statement from her sister, the victim said a truck crew had volunteered to help fix her bike. The statement quoted the victim as saying over the phone: “I am very scared about them. I feel like crying. I don’t feel like standing here. You please keep talking until my bike is returned. They are all waiting outside. You please keep talking to me, I am scared.”
The officer said that when the sister called back at 9.44 pm, she found the victim’s phone switched off. “She assumed that her sister’s phone might have run out of power. The family later went to the toll booth, but couldn’t find her. After searching in the vicinity, they approached police, and a missing complaint was registered at 3 am,” the officer said.
“At 7 am, police received information about a burnt body at the underpass. After going through the list of missing persons, they identified the veterinary doctor,’’ the officer said.
Investigators believe the doctor was allegedly lulled into handing over her two-wheeler for repair by Naveen and Chennakeshavalu.
“We are assuming that she thought it was better to get the two-wheeler repaired than leave it there because she would have been left without any transport at that time. Later, we suspect, the fear of losing her two-wheeler prompted her to stay put. She was attacked from behind and dragged into the empty room,” the officer said.