Motorway gang-rape: Covid-19 mask prevented me from arrest, Malhi told police

Motorway gang-rape: Covid-19 mask prevented me from arrest, Malhi told police

Lahore: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Tuesday sent Abid Malhi, the prime suspect in the horrific motorway gang-rape incident, to jail on 14-day judicial remand after his shocking revelations before the police.

Malhi, the prime suspect in gruesome motorway gang-rape incident, was brought to court premises amid tight security with a veil covering his head which was removed inside the courtroom during the course of proceedings.

In September, a Pakistani origin French lady was gang-raped in front of her children (below eight) in the fields on Motorway roadside at midnight when her car ran out of fuel and she was helplessly stuck due to noncooperation of Motorway police. The motorway gang-rape incident, when highlighted on social media, had sent a shockwave across the country and prompted countrywide protests by the outraged general public.

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During the proceedings, the prosecution requested the court to allow it for holding an identity parade of the suspect.

ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta approved the request and directed that the process be completed as soon as possible.

Along with the prime suspect, the court also granted physical remand of the other suspect Shafqat to police till October 28.

Earlier after his arrest, Abid Malhi disclosed the shocking revelations about motorway gang-rape and how he managed to evade from police for almost a month before the arrest.

Malhi revealed before the police that throughout he avoided recognition by wearing a mask on the pretext of Covid-19 spread-fear, adding that he spent a month in travelling to different cities across Punjab through public transport with a mask over his face.

He told the police that soon after the incident highlighted, he fled to Nankana Sahib while a co-accomplice Shafqat moved to Dialpur.  He added that he escaped from Nankana Sahib and went to Bahawalpur.

Read Also: Motorway gang-rape: Accomplice Shafqat confesses to the crime

He confessed before the police that he along with other accomplices Shafqat and Bala Mistri went to the highway near Karol village to commit robberies. Mistri, however, did not proceed with us, said Malhi, adding that he and Shafqat went towards the fields in Karol.

Malhi further revealed that he and Shafqat robbed two to three truck drivers in the same locality before sexually assaulting the woman, adding that the car’s indicators caught his attention and upon seeing a woman inside, he told her to come out.

“I (Malhi) broke the vehicle’s window and dragged the woman outside when she refused to come out of the car. After robbing the woman, we told her to go down in the fields on roadside of the motorway. We dragged her children to the fields when she refused to go down the motorway but then she followed us to protect them,” Malhi told the police.

Malhi revealed that he along with Shafqat gang-raped the woman when she followed to protect her children, adding that he and Shafqat fled when the Dolphin Police force arrived and fired aerial shots.

Punjab Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Sohail Sukhera told Dawn News that their strategy of releasing Malhi’s family members proved successful when the suspect made a phone call to his family members, adding that the police traced the call to Faisalabad.

DIG further said that during the telephonic conversation, Malhi’s mother told him that she and other family members had been released by police.

According to another report, Malhi was forced to contact his wife and mother after he ran out of money and this contact led to his arrest.

During the telephonic conversation, Malhi expressed his desire to meet family members at Manga Mandi where his mother’s house is located and he arrived as per their plan.

DIG Sukhera said as soon as Malhi entered the house, the police team raided the premises and arrested the suspect without any resistance.

On Monday, Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) of Lahore arrested Malhi from Manga Mandi, an area 33 kilometres away from Lahore.

CIA SP Asim Iftikhar told the media that Malhi was arrested in Manga Mandi after the raid, adding that his DNA test would be taken. It is pertinent to mention here that Shafqat is already in the jail on judicial remand.

Reportedly, the 27-year-old Malhi belongs to Bahawalnagar village and he is also a nominated accused in another robbery-cum-rape case in Fort Abbas police station. Malhi was nominated in the FIR along with four others in the gang-rape incident, during the robbery, in which they raped a girl in front of her father and mother.

Lahore police spokesperson said that Malhi had been arrested through scientific investigative methods, adding that CIA SP Asim Iftikhar played a crucial role in arresting Malhi.

Read Also: Motorway gang-rape: Suspect surrenders, claims innocence

The spokesperson further said that the Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Inspector General of Punjab Police have announced cash award for the special investigation team and the CIA officers involved in tracing the prime accused.

Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz Chohan his statement said that the government would do everything under the law to make an example out of the prime suspect.

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