The minor son of a MLA of the AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) has been named as an accused in the Hyderabad gangrape case that has set off outrage and political clashes in Telangana. All six accused -- one adult and five minors -- are now in custody.
The first five have been accused under sections of gangrape, abduction, voluntarily causing hurt as also sections of the POCSO Act, meaning they could get a death penalty, 20 years in jail or a lifetime in jail.
The sixth has been accused outraging modesty of a woman, voluntarily causing hurt and also sexual assault.
"We have booked them under the stringent sections, so they get maximum punishment for this heinous crime," said Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand.
Last week, BJP MLA Raghunandan Rao had released a video clip and photographs of the teen and her assailants, alleging the presence of the MLA's son in a car with her. The police, he alleged, was engaged in a cover-up.
Initially, the police maintained that the legislator's son was not involved in the gangrape as he had left the group at a local pastry shop.
"He had travelled a short distance in the Innova and then returned as he got a phone call, so it was five people who committed the rape," the commissioner said, admitting that they had come to know of his involvement in the initial sexual assault on the girl only after the video and photos released by the BJP leader.
The teen had come to the club in the afternoon at around 1 pm. The police say some 100 students had booked the pub, paying Rs 1,300 per head.
The pub had been booked by minors for upto Rs 900 per head in the name of one Osman Ali Khan.
"The harassment of the girl began around 3 pm inside the pub itself. Subsequently they trapped her outside the pub at around 5:40 pm after her friend left," Mr Anand said.
One of the boys had offered her a ride and the "girl was trapped by the CCLs (children in conflict with law)," Mr Anand said. The attack took place in the posh Jubilee Hills area of Hyderabad.
Security footage that went viral showed the girl standing outside the pub with the suspected attackers. The MLA's son, who was also seen in the video, may face jail term of upto five years.
The accused are students of Class 11 and 12 and belong to "politically influential" families.
One of the minors caught by the police is the son of a local leader of the state's ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Another minor is the son of a TRS leader from Sanga Reddy.
The Innova car in which she was allegedly assaulted was recovered yesterday from the farmhouse. The unregistered car was apparently recently assigned to a politician, the father of one of the minors accused of gangrape. It appeared to have been cleaned after the assault but forensic teams have said they still managed to get adequate evidence.