A 21-year-old woman from Rajasthan was among four people arrested in connection with the gang rape of a 19- year-old model in a moving car in Kochi, Kerala’s commercial capital.
The incident came to light after the survivor’s roommate alerted the police around 5 am on Friday, 18 November, before shifting the young woman to a hospital in Kakkanad and later to the Medical College Hospital at Kalamassery.
Earlier, the accused woman — reportedly also a model known to the survivor — took her to a bar near Cochin Shipyard at Ravipuram, a bustling locality south of MG Road, the city’s main artery, on Thursday night, 17 November, investigators said.
She reportedly invited one of the men, who arrived with two of his friends, and the group consumed liquor. Finding the young woman drunk, the men took her in their vehicle, a Mahindra Thar, while the older woman reportedly stayed back.
The police were trying to ascertain why she had stayed back in the bar.
The men allegedly raped the young woman in the vehicle which went around the city for about 45 minutes. They later returned to the bar, picked up the Rajasthani woman, and dropped the survivor at her accommodation in Kakkanad, some 12 km from Ravipuram.
The survivor hailed from the state’s northernmost district of Kasaragod, the police said, adding that all three men were residents of Kodungallur in Thrissur district.
The Infopark police registered the case first before transferring it to the Ernakulam south police, under whose jurisdiction the bar was located. Kakkanad falls under the Infopark police’s jurisdiction.
Minister assures strong action
Minister for Health and Family Welfare Veena George termed the incident “shocking” and assured strong action against the accused.
“The gangrape of a girl in a car in Kochi is shocking. Strong action will be taken against the culprits. Instructions have been given to ensure adequate treatment to the girl,” George said in a Facebook post.
The incident was reminiscent of the abduction and rape of a prominent actor on 18 February 2017. She was travelling to Kochi from Thrissur on work when she was allegedly raped in a moving car.
The high-profile case later grabbed national attention. Actor Dilip is the ninth accused in the case. The trail is still on.
It may also be recalled that two young models, Miss South India 2019 and Miss Kerala 2019 Ansy Kabeer, 25, and Miss Kerala 2019 first runner-up Anjana Shajan, 26, were killed after the car they were travelling in rammed into a tree near Chakkaraparambu at Palarivattom on Kochi bypass on 1 November 2021. Their companion, Ashiq, 25, succumbed to injuries seven days later.
The youngsters, who had attended a DJ party at No 18, an upmarket hotel in Fort Kochi, were trying to shake off a tailing car when the highspeed accident occurred. Saiju Thankachan, who chased the youngsters, wanted the models to accompany him.