Manali rape accused held

The Statesman

SHIMLA, 6 JUNE: All the three youths accused of raping a 30-year-old American tourist in Manali in the wee-hours of Tuesday were arrested this morning by the Kullu police after a “massive and difficult manhunt”. They have been identified as Arjun, Lucky and Som Bahadur and are in the age bracket of 22-25 years.

Of Nepali origin, they have been working as truck drivers;  two of them were nabbed at Patli Kuhl between Kullu and Manali last night. The third was picked up at a police barrier especially set up for the purpose near Mandi while fleeing in a bus with his girlfriend around 6 a.m. today.

The police had earlier obtained the identity of an accused truck driver from its owner after zeroing in on the truck with the help of clues (broken window, broken side of the vehicle while the victim was trying to jump out of it, etc) provided by the girl. Scores of trucks in the region were earlier scanned.

The victim has reportedly identified the truck. According to the Kullu Police Superinten-dent Mr Vinod Kumar Dhawan, they tracked down the culprits while they were talking to each other on their mobiles ~ one of the numbers had been obtained from the owner of the truck in which the gangrape was committed.

The police claim that they have “impeccable evidence” (like the girl’s hair found in the vehicle) to nail the criminals. It has been learnt that the High Court has been approached to set up a fast-track court to hear the case on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the state government has declared her “a state guest”, giving her all facilities and hospitality for as long as she is required to stay in Himachal.

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