Bangalore, Oct 20 (IANS) One of the eight suspects involved in the alleged gang-rape of a law student Oct 13 and who was absconding, was injured Saturday in a shootout in the Bangalore University campus Saturday, a police official said. Six other suspects were arrested earlier.
"The accused (Rama) was shot at by our inspector (C. Satyanarayana) in self-defence after he fired at our patrolling team when asked to surrender. A case has been registered under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)," Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) S. N. Siddaramappa told IANS here.
Police rushed the injured suspect to a state-run hospital as he was hit in the leg by one of the bullets fired in three rounds of exchange, including one in the air.
Two of his accomplices, however, escaped in darkness.
"On a tip-off around 6 p.m., the suspect was found in the wooded area of the campus axing a sandalwood tree along with two others by the patrolling team, which was combing the area as part of our security drive stepped up after the gang-rape incident," Siddaramappa said.
As the trio were neither students nor university employees, the five-member patrolling team, including three constables told them to identify themselves and asked why they were felling the sandalwood tree.
"Instead of coming out of the woods, Rama (alias Ramchandra) opened fire from a home-made pistol at the patrolling team and tried to escape. It was then the inspector fired in self-defence though one constable (Malthesh) was also injured on hand in the encounter," Siddaramappa said.
Earlier in the day, city police commissioner Jyothi Prakash Mirji told reporters that six of the eight accused in the gang-rape were arrested late Friday while two, including Rama and Raja were absconding.
"The suspects were nabbed from the adjacent Ramanagaram and Mandya districts after a week-long investigation and hunt is on to trace the other two absconding," Mirji said.
Ramanagaram is about 60 km and Mandya about 100 km from Bangalore.
A case was registered against the eight accused under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Oct 14 after the victim filed a complaint with the police that she was gang raped when she was in the campus with her boy friend, a techie working in a multinational firm.
"We zeroed-in the suspects after checking mobile calls made from the area and received around the time of the incident (Oct 13 night) and interrogating several people," Mirji said.
Though the accused admitted to have committed the crime during preliminary investigation, police are waiting for the final report of the victim's medical examination at a state-run hospital in the city to confirm that she was gang raped.
"The accused youth are woodcutters from two villages in the neighbouring Ramanagaram and Mandya districts, who frequent the campus in the nights to cut trees, especially sandalwood variety, and making a living from selling the wood in local markets," Mirji recalled.
Investigation revealed on that fateful night, the suspects had spotted the victim in a parked car along with her boy friend when they were in search of sandalwood trees for chopping.
"As there was no around, the accused accosted the victim and the boy friend. They dragged her into their van and drove into the nearby woods leaving her friend behind in the car and sexually abused her," a police official who investigated the case said.
The victim is a second year student of the National Law School of Indian University and hails from Nepal.