LAHORE: The police official investigating a gang rape case has, without looking at the chemical examiner’s report, declared that there is no medical evidence of rape, raising concerns about the impartiality of the investigation.
Sania*, 25, says Assistant Sub Inspector Basharat Ali, a man named Tariq and a Secretariat employee named Amir – all three known to her as residents of her neighbourhood gang-raped her at gunpoint, made video recordings of the assault and then sent the clips to her family. An FIR to this effect was registered at Shahdara Police Station on October 28 under Section 496-A of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Sub Inspector Muhammad Amin, the investigation officer of the case, told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the medical report contained no evidence of rape. He believed that Sania had a personal, hidden motive for making the accusations. He said no witnesses had supported her story. He said none of the three accused were guilty of rape.
He said according to the statements of the accused, the complainant was having an affair with Tariq. She had agreed to meet Tariq in a hotel room to pick up some money from him. He said ASI Ali and Amir confronted the two in the room and “slapped Sania because she was becoming a cause of vulgarity in the neighbourhood”. He said they took pictures of her, not a video, and they were not pornographic or lewd. But he added that he hadn’t seen any pictures himself.
The investigator’s declaration that there was no medical evidence of rape appeared premature as the chemical examiner’s report is still awaited. On Wednesday, Additional District and Sessions Judge Akhtar Bahadur put off hearing the bail pleas of the accused till November 16 for this very reason.
Sania said the police had deliberately botched the investigation. “They have been favouring the accused since the beginning,” she said. “They waited three days after the incident before registering an FIR, and four days before conducting the medical examination.”
She said she had long feared that the sub inspector would not be impartial in investigating the case and that was why she had already filed a complaint against him with the superintendent of police (Discipline). The SP has summoned SI Amin for a personal hearing on Thursday.
She alleged that the SI had taken Rs25,000 from the accused to rig the investigation. She also said that ASI Ali had been threatening to initiate false cases against her if she didn’t withdraw her rape complaint.
Sources in Shahdara police station told The Express Tribune that the accused, shortly after getting interim bail, had gone to the station and made partial confessions.
They had admitted that ASI Ali and Tariq raped her, and that Amir was present but had not assaulted her. They denied filming the incident, but said they had taken pictures on a mobile phone that they had later deleted, the sources said.
Sania, a mother of three, said the accused had sent video clips to her in-laws as well as her parents. Both households had refused to let her live with them, she said, but added that she was still determined to get justice.
*The name has been changed to protect the victim’s identity.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2010.
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