Delhi's Anjali Singh, who died after being dragged by a car for 13 km in the early hours of this New Year, was with a friend when their scooter met with an accident, the police have said.
The friend, Nidhi, has told police that she was terrified after the crash and fled the spot as Anjali was dragged by the Maruti Baleno car.
The fact that 20-year-old Anjali was not alone at the time of the accident surfaced after police started tracing the route Anjali took.
The investigation found that the accident took place while the two women were returning from a New Year party at a hotel. Footage from a CCTV camera outside the hotel captured them leaving on the scooter. Police found Nidhi's name on the hotel register and tracked her down. According to police sources, she had said in her statement that when the car hit their scooter, Anjali went under the wheels while she was flung away from the vehicle. Anjali's leg, the probe has found, got stuck in the car's axle, and she was dragged along.
Nidhi, sources said, blamed the car driver for the accident that took place at Sultanpuri in west Delhi. The five accused, now arrested, have alleged that the women were riding in a rash and zigzag manner and that led to the crash.
Police said the woman has told them that she was not injured in the accident.
Investigation has found that the two women left the hotel at 1.45 am, CCTV footage shows Nidhi driving and Anjali riding pillion. Anjali, it is learnt, later said she wants to drive and the two swapped places. Soon after, they crashed with the car.
The five men in the car have admitted that they were drunk at the time of the crash. Panicked, they drove away, unaware that Anjali was dragged along, the accused have told police.
Deepak Khanna, who was at the wheel, has told police that as they drove away, he felt "something was stuck", but others dismissed him.
The car allegedly drove for about 13 km, dragging the 20-year-old woman through the streets. While the car was taking a U-turn at Kanjhawala, one of accused Mithun spotted a hand under the vehicle. Once the car was stopped, the body came off. The accused then fled the scene, they have told police.
Footage of multiple CCTV cameras on the streets has captured the night horror. One of the videos, now viral, shows the car making a U-turn with the woman's body stuck to it.
An eyewitness has said that he shouted out when he saw the body being dragged, but the car did not stop. He then informed police and chased the vehicle on his two-wheeler. Police eventually reached when the body had come off and the accused had fled the scene.
The investigation has found that the first call to police control room, apparently from the eyewitness, was received about 2 hours after Anjali left the hotel. The damaged scooter was found half an hour later and the body was found around 4.10 am.
All five accused have been arrested. They have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, rash driving and causing death by negligence.
The woman's family has alleged that she was sexually assaulted, but the police have said they have not found any evidence of this. A preliminary autopsy examination, sources said, found no sign of injury to the woman's private parts.