The teenager was allegedly raped at knife-point the first time on July 7, when she had gone to meet a male friend whom she had met on Facebook. The accused allegedly shot a video on her cellphone and tried to threaten and blackmail her.
The next day the police, in an attempt to lay a trap, sent the girl back to the same spot. It "failed" as police vehicles were following too closely, said Vishwas Patil, Inspector General of Police, Aurangabad district.
A day later, the police made a second attempt to trap the rapists but a "miscommunication" meant that the girl was assaulted once again. "The girl was put through the injustice again. It is wrong to use a victim, especially a minor victim, as bait," Mr Patil said.
Police officers involved in the operation say the teen left to meet the accused without informing them and apparently thought that a police vehicle was following her.
The alleged rapists were arrested hours later from a railway station; the police claim they had received a tip-off.
Vinod Ejjapwar, the police officer who allegedly led the operation to use the rape survivor as bait, has been suspended. An inquiry report on him is expected within 20 days.
The government has been guarded in its response. "The facts of the case are different. The Superintendent of Police will clarify soon," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday.
Police sources say preliminary medical reports have failed to establish the first rape.
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