RAJKOT: Eight months after the gang rape and murder of a 50-year-old Patidar woman in Mandvi village that had sparked massive outrage in the community, the Bhavnagar police arrested five persons for the crime.
The arrested accused, three of whom are brothers, belong to Ahir community. Police arrested Amru Bheda (23) and his brothers Bharat alias Lalo (26) and Mukesh (29), Vikram Bhagwan Bheda (30) and Raju Husa Bheda (25) and produced them in local court in Gariyadhar town of Amreli where the plaint was lodged. They have been remanded to police custody till September 6.
On December 2 last year, the woman and her husband were returning home from their farm late in the evening when his bike got punctured. He went to repair the bike and asked her to go home. However, when she did not return till late night, they started searching and found her dead body with head bad ly smashed near the village pond.
Investigations later also revealed that she was gang raped. "We are yet to establish the motive of the crime," said Amit Vishwakarma, range IG, Bhavnagar.
Meenaba Zala, an SIT member who investigated the case, told TOI that the name of these accused persons surfaced during questioning of several people. "We also got lie detector test of two of the accused done. After getting enough evidence, we arrested them from Gariyadhar on Wednesday ," she said.
On March 27, the key witness in the case, Dhiru Gujarati (45), had also committed suicide.
However, the SIT probe has revealed that he too was involved in the crime. Gujarati had become an important witness in this case after villagers told police that he knew all the facts about the crime. Then, his mother and sister had alleged that he was fed up of frequent questioning by the police and he was feeling mentally tortured, which led him to take the extreme step.
Police had earlier arrested one person named Arjun Koli in the case. "However, it is a matter of investigation whether he was involved," Zala added.Rattled by angry protests by PAAS, the state government had formed a SIT headed by Bhavnagar Range IG Amit Vishwakarma along with woman police officer Meenaba Zala on December 30.