Hyderabad police on Saturday began questioning five juveniles arrested in connection with the May 28 gang rape of a 17-year-old girl in a car. The police until now was questioning only the accused who is a major.
The minors were brought to Jubilee Hills police station from Juvenile Home, where they have been lodged since their arrest a few days ago.
The police had requested Juvenile Home authorities to make arrangements for questioning the minors in their premises but that was not possible. The juveniles were then brought to the police station.
The Children in Conflict with Law (CCL), as the minors are called by the police, will be questioned from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. After 5 p.m., CCL will be handed over to Juvenile Home.
The Juvenile Justice Board on Thursday granted police a five-day custody of three CCLs. However, they could not be questioned on Friday, as the day was lost in the tussle over the location of questioning.
With the Board allowing five-day police custody of the remaining two CCLs on Friday, the police decided to bring all of them to the police station for simultaneous but separate questioning.
The investigators are likely to show CCL the evidence gathered by the police against them including the CCTV footage to make them confess to the crime.
Meanwhile, police continued questioning Saduddin Malik, who is the only major accused in the sensational case. Police officers were grilling him for the third consecutive day on Saturday.
The police are seeking to gather more information to piece together the sequence of events, role played by each of the offenders to build a strong case against the accused.
The police also plan to conduct reconstruction of crime scene and potency tests on the accused. Potency test is a medical test which establish whether a person is capable of engaging in sexual acts or not.
If necessary, the police may approach the court for extending the police custody of Malik which is expiring on Sunday.
The police officials are also reportedly collecting information from the accused as to who helped them in escaping after committing the crime. The accused were reportedly arrested from places in other states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.
Since the accused belong to politically influential families, police have come under flak from going soft on those who helped them flee or might have tampered with the evidence.
Out of five accused who sexually assaulted the girl, four are aged 16-17. The fifth accused is 18-year-old Malik, who is the prime accused.
The sixth accused who has been charged with molestation is one month short of turning 18. He is the son of an MLA of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM).
The leader is also the chairman of a government-run body. Two others are said to be sons of TRS corporators in Greater Hyderabad and Sangareddy. One of them is said to have played the key role in trapping the victim and lure her into the car.
Malik (18) and four CCL have been booked under IPC’s Sections 376 D (gang rape), 323 (causing hurt), Section 5 (G) (gang penetrative sexual assault on child) read with Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 366 (kidnapping a woman) and 366 A (procuration of a minor girl) and Section 67 of Information Technology Act.
Police say the accused could face punishment for not less than 20 years or imprisonment for life till death or even death penalty.
The sixth CCL was not involved in rape but he kissed the victim in the car. He has been booked under IPC Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 323 and Section 9 (G) read with 10 of POCSO Act. He could face 5-7 years imprisonment.
The incident occurred on May 28 after the victim and accused attended a daytime party at a pub in upscale Jubilee Hills.