Five suspects indicted for raping woman in train
By Naeem Sahoutara
KARACHI: A sessions court has indicted five employees of a privately-run train for subjecting a female passenger to gang rape and filming the sexual assault.
A train manager and four ticket checkers of Bahaudin Zakaria Express have been charged with sexually abusing the 25-year-old victim, who was travelling from Multan to Karachi on the night between May 27 and 28.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (South) Ashraf Hussain read out the charges to the accused.
Three detained men were produced from prison while two others appeared on bail.
All of them pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case. Therefore, the judge summoned the witnesses of prosecution to appear on August 1 to record their testimonies against the accused persons.
Last month, a judicial magistrate had accepted an investigation report filed by the investigating officer under Section 173 (police of ficer report) of the criminal procedure code (CrPC).
The IO, Inspector Habibullah Khattak, had chargesheeted four accused for allegedly sexually abusing the woman. The fif th accused was chargesheeted for allegedly aiding and abetting the crime and attempting to concealthe evidence.
According to the prosecution, the 25-year-old woman was raped while she was travelling alone in the economy class on the night between May 27 and 28. The incident took place when the ticket checker offered her a seat in the air-conditioned compartment of the Multan-Karachi train, where he, along with other train employees, subjected her to a sexual assault, it added.
The investigation report alleged that the accused also made a video of the victim to blackmail her or take monetary benefits by using it.
It was only after a local daily published a report about the alleged sexual abuse that the police contacted the woman and lodged an FIR on her complaint.
The IO concluded in the investigation report that in the light of circumstantial, forensic and medical evidence, as well as statements of the witnesses, it had been proved that the accused raped her one after another.
He claimed that their DNA samples had also matched with those of the victim, confirming their involvement in the offence.
The IO listed as many as 67 witnesses, including doctors, a judicial magistrate, trains guards, other staffers and officials. He added that the victim had also identified the trio before a judicial magistrate, who had also recorded her statement under Section 164 (power to record statements and confessions) of the CrPC, wherein, she rightly picked out them as the accused who had subjected her to sexual assault.
A case was registered under Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Pakistan Railways City police station on the complaint of the victim.