JAIPUR: Hours after it came to light that a serving defence personnel was the main accused in the shocking gang-rape of a 19-year-old girl in Haryana's Rewari district, the Army on Saturday assured strict action him.
Reacting to the shocking incident, Lieutenant General Cherish Mathson, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Command assured swift action in the matter and said that "Army doesn't shelter criminals".
"If an Army personnel is involved in the crime we will see that the person is caught and booked for rape. We do not shelter criminals," Lt Gen Mathson told reporters.
The remarks from the top ranking Army official came shortly after police investigation claimed that a serving Army personnel - Pankaj – was the key accused in the case.
The Haryana Police, which is probing the Rewari gang-rape case, on Saturday released the pictures of all three accused in the case and said they will be arrested very soon.
The Haryana Police confirmed that the three accused have been identified as – Manish, Nishu and Pankaj - an Army personnel.
Sharing details about the ongoing investigation into the shocking case, Haryana DGP said, ''A case has been registered in connection with the incident. We have released pictures of the three accused. One of them is an Army personnel.''
The Haryana DGP said that they have issued arrest warrants against them and the culprits will be arrested very soon.
''We're issuing the arrest warrants against them. Hope arrests will be made by this evening,'' he added.
''The ADG Rewari will conduct an inquiry to see if there was a negligence by the police department in the case,'' the DGP said.
Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team, which was set up to probe the case, raided several locations in search of the culprits.
The Haryana Police had constituted a SIT in the case as the accused has been on the run. It is being headed by Mewat SP Naazneen Bhasin.
The father of the young woman, a school topper who was felicitated by the government last year, said that she could have been raped by eight to 10 men.
The girl's mother too hit out at the police for allegedly failing to take action in the case and said that her daughter was traumatised even as the accused "were roaming freely" after the incident.
"She has named three accused, but when the horrific incident took place, she sensed that 8-10 persons could have been there," the victim's father had told reporters in Rewari on Friday, noting she was drugged by the accused.
The incident evoked a sharp reaction from the Opposition, with former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda alleging a complete breakdown of the law and order situation.
He demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on moral grounds for the state's alleged failure to protect its daughters.
"The chief minister should resign on moral grounds. There is a complete breakdown of law and order machinery in Haryana. The latest shocking incident is not an isolated one.. Criminals were on the run from Haryana when the Congress was in power, but crime graph has gone up ever since the BJP came to power," Hooda alleged.
Khattar told reporters in Rohtak the law will take its course and assured that culprits will be punished.
The victim's mother said her daughter was traumatised after the incident.
"The government talks about Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, but is this the price we have to pay for getting our daughters educated? The accused are roaming freely but police have failed to nab them," she told reporters in her village in Rewari district.
"The police has failed to take any action. We were made to run from pillar to post before our complaint was taken. The FIR was registered at 1 am as the police kept citing jurisdiction issues, making us shuttle between Rewari and Kanina," she claimed.
"All we want is justice," the mother said.
SP Vinod Kumar said three youths were named in the "zero FIR" which was transferred to them by the Rewari Police Thursday.
The accused, who were stated to be in the age group of 20-25 years, belong to the same village as the survivor, said Inspector Anirudh, the SHO of the Kanina Police Station.
According to the FIR, the young woman had gone to attend a coaching class when she was abducted on Wednesday while she was waiting at a bus-stop in Kanina.
She was allegedly kidnapped by the accused who arrived in a car and was taken to a secluded place where she was gang-raped after being offered a drink laced with sedatives, the survivor alleged in her complaint.
The accused left her near a bus stop in Kanina later that day. Meanwhile, the victim was admitted to a hospital in Rewari after she complained of pain in the abdomen.
(With Agency Inputs)