LAHORE: In a major breakthrough in the motorway gang rape incident, the police have identified both the criminals allegedly involved in the heinous crime through DNA profile matching and mobile phone tracking, Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Punjab Inam Ghani said on Saturday.
Addressing a joint news conference with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Law Minister Basharat Raja and Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Ghani disclosed that all evidences collected from the crime scene and preliminary investigation had indicated police towards culprit Abid Ali.
Ghani revealed that the main culprit in the gang rape case, Abid Ali, of Fort Abbas, was also involved in a similar case registered in 2013. He added that the police tracked his mobile phone calls history, which led them to his accomplice, Waqarul Hassan.
Though, other than the main culprit’s name and an old FIR, the police had no information about the criminals but by using scientific investigation methods and modern technology available with the police and other law-enforcement agencies the police gathered all the related information regarding Abid by Friday night.
The Punjab police chief said that four mobile SIM cards had been registered in the name of Abid Ali during different times but all of them had been closed. However, through his mobile call records police had come to know another number that was used during the criminal act.
“It also helped the police to identify his companion, Waqarul Hassan, a resident of Ali Town, district Sheikhupura,” Ghani said. “Through mobile phone location, we have confirmed that both culprits are in a village near Qila Sattar Shah, district Sheikhupura.”
He said that a police party in civvies and private vehicles raided the location around 12 noon but they had fled from the location. “Right now, around 28 teams of Punjab police, Special Branch, Counter Terrorism Department and other agencies are trying to arrest the criminals,” he added.
Promising that the both the culprits would be put behind bars soon, Ghani said that the police investigation was kept secret except from the chief minister, the law minister and the additional chief secretary home.
The IGP revealed that seven criminal cases were already registered against Abid Ali, while his accomplice, Waqar, was released on bail just a fortnight ago. Both the culprits had previous criminal record and police were very close to them.
He appealed to the citizens to share information about their whereabouts on Police Emergency Helpline 15 but advised the masses to avoid misusing the helpline service.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Buzdar announced Rs2.5 million head money for each of the two criminals. He asked citizens to help the authorities in making their arrest. The chief minister said that the name of the informer would be kept secret.
The government would soon present the motorway incident culprits before the court of law, the chief minister said. “We would try to ensure that they get exemplary punishment but we cannot do anything extrajudicial.”
Answering a question, the chief minister said that in the Zainab murder case, the Sahiwal incident and in all other heinous crimes, the police had arrested the criminals and presented them before the court of law. “Law will take its course in the motorway gang-rape case,” he added.
Responding to a question about unmindful statement of Lahore police chief, the chief minister said the CCPO’s statement was very irresponsible and irrelevant. The IGP had already issued him a show-cause notice and following his reply necessary action would be taken as per law.
Two men dragged the woman out of her car on the Lahore-Sheikhupura Motorway, raped her in front of her two children before robbing her on Wednesday night. She had pulled over by the roadside after she ran out of fuel and called police and her family for help.
The sickening incident set off nationwide outrage, while CCPO Sheikh’s apparent victim-blaming added fuel to the fire. In a television interview, he said the woman shouldn’t have left home late in the night.
“No one in our society would allow their sisters and daughters to travel alone so late,” he said.
On Friday, authorities decided to go for the DNA census of the population of the nearby villages after failure of the investigations wing of the Lahore police in arresting the accused involved in the brutal sexual assault on a woman in front of her children during robbery in Gujjarpura three days ago.
This is the third high profile case in which the Punjab police went for DNA census after failing to rely on its investigations capacity. Previously, it happened in Zainab murder case in Kasur and Chunia serial killing case after sodomy.
On Thursday night, Inam Ghani, the Inspector General of the Punjab Police, formed a six members committee, headed by Deputy Inspector General Investigations, Lahore, Shahzada Sultan, to investigate the gage rape on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.
The other members of the committee included SSP Investigations, Lahore, Zeeshan Asghar, RO Special Branch, Lahore, Jahanzeb Nazir, RO CTD, Lahore, Naseeb Ullah Khan, SP CIA, Lahore, Asim Iftikhar and in charge anti-gender crime cell, Civil Lines, Fiza Azam.
The top police brass had deputed over two-dozen investigation teams to get hold of the accused. DIG Investigations of Lahore police Sahibzada Shahzada Sultan said that all the available resources had been used to solve the case.
Police had accessed CCTV footages, CDR analysis, geo-fencing, arrest of history-sheeters to trace the suspects. The teams of Special Branch, CTD and other investigation agencies had also been employed for the purpose.