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October 14, 2020

Motorway gang-rape: Abid sent on 14-day judicial remand

Top Story

October 14, 2020

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) Tuesday sent Abid Malhi, the prime suspect in the Motorway gang-rape case, to jail on judicial remand for an identification parade. The CIA police, headed by SP Asim Iftikhar, produced the accused before ATC Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta amid tight security. The accused, with a muffled face, was brought to the court in an armoured vehicle.

The police informed the court that the accused was not nominated in the First Information Report (FIR) and was arrested on suspicion and on pointation of co-accused Shafqat. The investigation officer stated that the call details record (CDR) had also been secured.

The court was informed that after the arrest of the suspect, his swabs were collected for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) matching and were sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA). The police stated that it received the PFSA report, which confirmed that the DNA of the accused had matched with the DNA which was collected from the crime scene and from the victim.

The police stated that as the accused was not nominated in the FIR, his identification parade was a requirement of the law. The police implored the court to send the accused to jail for an identification parade.

The court, after hearing the police and the accused, sent the accused to jail on 14-day judicial remand. The court directed the jail authorities to make special arrangements for identification parade of Abid so that his identity could not be disclosed to inmates of the jail as well as to private persons.

The co-accused Shafqat was also brought before the court after completion of his judicial remand. Investigation Officer Zulfiqar Ali asked the court to grant 30-day physical custody of the accused to recover the weapon of offence.

However, the court granted 15-day physical remand of Shafqat alias Bagga, directing police to produce him again on Oct 28, alongwith the investigation report. It was learnt that identification parade of Shafqat had not taken place yet.

Abid Malhi was arrested on Monday from Manga Mandi after 33 days of manhunt by the Punjab police, Counter-Terrorism Department and Special Branch. The police had been following him, his relatives and any other person he had been in contact with. Police in plainclothes had been deployed for reconnaissance of his relatives. Their communication was also being monitored.

Investigators spotted two phone numbers and got suspicious that the suspect was in contact for help, money and food. They followed these numbers and started waiting for the suspect to appear. As the suspect showed up, police nabbed him.

On Sept 15, the CTD had arrested co-accused Shafqat Ali alias Bagga from his sister’s house in Depalpur, district Okara. Shafqat was in contact with Abid Ali Malhi before and after committing the crime.

Shafqat, in the preliminary investigation, stated that Abid had first raped the woman and then forced him to commit the same. He said that when the Dolphin officials arrived at the crime scene, they were present there. But when Dolphin squad fired a warning shot, they left the crime scene and hid in Karol jungle. After two hours, they left the jungle and reached Sheikhupura at the home of Abid Malhi, Shafqat added.

After that, both switched off their cell-phones and parted ways. Shafqat went to the house of his sister from where he was arrested, while Abid avoided a police raid and went underground for long.

Police investigation revealed that it was a gang of four criminals including Abid Malhi, Ali Sher, Iqbal alias Bala Mistri and Shafqat alias Bagga, who used to commit crimes in Sheikhupura and other cities.

Moreover, on Aug 8, Abid and Ali Sher were arrested by the Factory Area police of Sheikhupura when they robbed a citizen while their third accomplice, Shafqat, had fled the scene. However, Abid secured bail while Ali Sher is still in jail. After that, Iqbal, who is the fourth member of the gang, suggested changing the crime area as they were under radar of Sheikhupura police.

Iqbal is a resident of Karol Ghati and he asked the gang to robe people near the said area.