An autorickshaw driver who was detained by the police after blood stains were found in his vehicle in the horrific Ujjain rape case has said he helped the 15-year-old girl by giving her clothes.
The autorickshaw driver Rakesh Malviya told the police his only mistake was he did not take the girl to hospital, but left her on the road.
The police yesterday told NDTV those who did not help the girl – who had been raped and left half-naked and bleeding, and went door-to-door begging for help – may be charged under child sex abuse laws. They may face action under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for not reporting the crime.
Mr Malviya spent four night in police custody after he was detained over suspicion that he could be the suspect. The police have now said he should have reported the matter immediately or taken the girl to hospital.
The autorickshaw driver said he gave the girl a khaki shirt that drivers wear. He said he regrets not having taken her to hospital.
“I gave a khaki shirt to her. She said she wanted to go home. I regret it a lot. I was also confused. I found myself in this situation for the first time, didn’t know who to tell,” Mr Malviya said.
The indifference of some residents of Ujjain whose doors the girl knocked for help has been criticised widely. For two hours, no one in the places she passed by – over 500 houses, dhabas and a toll booth – did not help her, until a temple priest helped her and called the police.
A man standing outside a house was seen on CCTV in what appeared like he was talking rudely to the girl using aggressive gestures. The man’s brother, however, said it was all a misunderstanding.
“My brother had just woken up and was groggy. As soon as he opened the gate, he saw the girl suddenly coming towards the gate. He then went in to call our sister-in-law. By then the girl left and we could not help her. We feel very sorry. The girl should get justice,” said Tarun Das Swami, the brother of the man seen on CCTV.
Another Ujjain resident, who does not live in the part of the city where the girl got no help, criticised the resident for not helping her. “People have ignored the girl. Our Ujjain has become infamous. It is the city of Mahakal. If this has happened here, then what can we say?” Ujjain resident Renu Bansal said.
The main accused, Bharat Soni, is in jail, while the girl is recovering in hospital.
The Madhya Pradesh police had said it took an extraordinary effort to crack the case, which involved interrogating hundreds of people, and scanning footage from over 700 CCTV cameras before they found links to the main accused.