New Delhi: A Telangana minister on Friday kicked up a storm with his comments asking why a 22-year-old veterinarian, whose charred body was found a day earlier near Shadnagar town, had chosen to call her sister for help and not the police.
"We are saddened by the incident, the police is alert and controlling crime," said minister Mohamad Mahmood Ali. "It is unfortunate that she called her sister and not '100' (the police helpline). Had she called '100', she could have been saved."
The family members believe that had the Cyberabad police acted on time, the woman could have been saved as some security lapses have been reported.
After receiving flak, Ali later described the victim as his daughter, stating, "I wouldn’t say anything wrong like that. All I meant was that if someone would have dialed 100, then probably this incident could have been averted. We have asked the police to take immediate action."
The woman is suspected to have been killed after she was allegedly gang-raped near Tondupally toll plaza in Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad and her body was dumped and burnt 25 km away at Chatanpally bridge near Shadnagar town. The police are yet to ascertain if she was bludgeoned or strangulated to death.
The woman had called her sister around 9:45 pm and told her that her vehicle was punctured and that somebody has offered to help her and took her vehicle for repair. The woman also reportedly told her sister that she was afraid of some truck drivers near her.
Her sister had advised her to leave the vehicle, come to the toll plaza and return home by a cab. However, the doctor’s phone was switched off when her sister tried to call her later.
Telangana's senior cabinet minister KT Rama Rao on Friday said he will personally monitor the case, saying he was "outraged and deeply anguished by the murder".
"I am confident that the police will catch the animals who committed this heinous crime and deliver justice at the earliest," Rao, who is Minister for Information Technology, Industries, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, said in a tweet.
Home Minister Ali said the accused will be tried in a fast-track court and the government will try to ensure that the guilty are awarded the death penalty. He said the case will be tried like the one relating to the rape and murder of a nine-month-old girl in Warangal. Within two months of the gruesome incident there, a local court in August had sentenced the 27-year-old convict to death.
Ali, who called on the family members of the veterinarian on Friday, said the investigations were likely to be completed by the evening.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner AVC Sajjanar, who has formed 10 teams to investigate the case, is likely to announce the arrest of the accused later in the day.
The police have taken two truck drivers and two cleaners into custody and recovered the victim's clothes, footwear and a liquor bottle near the toll plaza, where the veterinarian had parked her two-wheeler. The accused, identified as Mohd Pasha, Naveen, Keshavulu and Shiva, were caught after scanning the CCTV footage from surveillance cameras installed near the toll plaza.
The owner of a tyre repair shop nearby told police that a youth had brought a scooty between 9:30 pm and 10 pm.
Since the family was unable to reach her, they lodged a missing complaint with the police around 11 pm. The police found the charred body near Shadnagar on Thursday morning.
Investigations revealed that the victim had left her house in Shamshabad for a veterinary hospital at Kolluru village. She returned in the evening at the toll plaza, parked her scooty nearby and took a cab to go to Gachibowli to visit a dermatologist. When she returned to the spot around 9 pm, she found the two-wheeler punctured.
Police suspect the vehicle was deliberately punctured by the culprits to trap the victim. They took her to the secluded place near the Tondupally toll gate, raped her between the parked trucks and killed her.
(With inputs from agencies)