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Friday Sep 25 2020

Suspects on the run as controversy continues to surround CIifton gang-rape case

KARACHI: Police investigating the Clifton gang-rape case on Friday said that "no evidence was found of the woman having been found in a partially conscious state".

"After the incident, the girl travelled home by public transport," they said.

The case is mired with controversy owing to conflicting statements by police officers as they probe the facts.

According to a police report, samples from the woman's clothes have been taken and will provide a more conclusive picture of what transpired.

The report states that a wound was seen on the woman's arm, which "seems to be self-inflicted".

The investigative team said that the two main suspects in the case belong to Jacobabad and had purchased a flat in Clifton where they allegedly took the woman and gang-raped her.

"We have collected all the evidence related to the suspects," they said.

The police said that the prime suspect along with his cousin allegedly raped the victim in the presence of a domestic worker.

"We have sped up our efforts to apprehend the suspects," police said, adding: "They have turned off their mobile phones and gone into hiding."

They said that one of the numbers is registered in the name of the suspect's parents.

According to police, the incident in question occurred on September 21 and the victim's sister alerted the police on the 15 helpline the next day.

Evidence contrary to woman's claims

A senior police officer of the metropolis' South Zone had earlier raised doubts over the incident, saying it did "not look like rape and kidnapping but it appears to be some other issue".

Speaking to The News, the deputy inspector-general (DIG) for South Zone police, Javed Akbar Riaz, said: "Investigators did not find any evidence or witness to suggest that the woman offered resistance during the entire episode."

However, until the investigation is complete, "nothing concrete can be established", he added.

The closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage obtained by police seemingly shows her calmly walking away from the area where she was reportedly initially picked up.

Following the incident on Monday night, the 22-year-old, a working woman, along with her family, had claimed that she was kidnapped and later gang-raped in Karachi’s Clifton neighbourhood.

They claimed that she had gone out for snacks to a mall with a friend. Afterwards, two men in a double cabin vehicle allegedly kidnapped her from outside the mall. They took her to an apartment and where along with a third accomplice she was allegedly raped.

Initially, it was reported in the media that the young woman was found unconscious on Tuesday morning following her abduction on Monday night.

The police, however, said that she was picked up at around 9:30pm on Monday night and then dropped at around 11:30pm the same night. An FIR was registered at the Boat Basin police station.