NEW DELHI: Four people, including a tour guide and a bell boy of a five-star hotel in Connaught Place, were arrested on Monday for allegedly raping an American tourist in April. The 25-year-old rape survivor, who made a complaint in October, returned to India recently to depose before a magistrate and identify the accused.
In her statement, the woman said five people drugged and sexually assaulted her inside her hotel room in CP soon after she checked in. She left India after the incident and said it was only towards the end of July that she started to remember what had happened to her. “I started to get panic attacks and nightmares — I still get them — after which I told… my mom,” she said in her statement, which has been incorporated in the FIR.
Those arrested so far are tourist guide Aniruddha Singh, hotel staffer Vivek, driver Om Prakash and cleaner Maqsood Khan. Delhi Police spokesperson Depender Pathak said they would seek custody of the accused to gather further evidence and establish the identity of the fifth accused.
Police sources said the four were not arrested earlier as there was no video or eyewitness evidence. The men were identified and questioned first on December 5. All four claimed they were being falsely implicated, saying the woman had travelled with them to the remaining destinations on her package tour without raising an alarm and even rated them positively in the feedback forms. “They also showed photographs in which her…facial expression did not indicate that she was under stress,” a police officer said. However cops seized their passports and mobile phones for further investigations.
It was the woman’s statement before a magistrate (under section 164 of CrPC) that nailed their involvement and made the arrests possible, police sources said. The survivor, in her statement, said she had come to India on a group tour of 25-30 people organised by a Pennsylvaniabased firm. Her ordeal began soon after she checked into the five-star hotel in CP.
“I landed in Delhi on April 8. Gate guy Mr Singh (accused 2) explained to us the tour plan and gave keys to our rooms. I was escorted to the room by a hotel employee (accused 1)… I asked him for a power adaptor for my cellphone which he brought in 10-15 minutes and left. He again came with a water bottle, which I never asked for, and left. I had the water and immediately felt very sleepy. I believe there was something in it which made me sleepy. I remember some people in the room and asked who it was. They left screaming in their local language. I went to sleep again. Next, I saw accused 1 touching me,” she said in her statement.
“Accused 1 had then sexually assaulted me. I was not able to find out what was happening to me maybe due to the drugs, but I could figure out that accused 2 was standing next to me too and had started to undress himself. I had started to scream for help but accused 2 hit me on my face. I started to bang my hand against the wall hoping that some one in the next room might come for help, accused 2 then sexually assaulted me as well.” She said during the assault, the two accused threatened to teach her a lesson for travelling to India alone.
The woman returned home soon after and after a few months, told her mother about the incident. “I contacted a non-profit organisation in the US who in turn contacted the tour operator and the hotel but did not get any assistance from them. Then, the organisation gave a complaint to the Delhi Police commissioner on October 5 via email and received a reply on October 17,” the woman said.