LAHORE: A Lahore anti-terrorism court on Tuesday sent the prime suspect in the motorway gang-rape case, Abid Malhi, to jail on a 14-day judicial remand.
The accused was brought to court under tight security, with a black hood covering his face that was removed during the proceedings. During the hearing, Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta approved a request by the prosecution to hold an identity parade of the suspect and directed that the process be completed as soon as possible.
The court also handed over the other suspect in the case, Shafqat, to police on physical remand till October 28.
Abid Malhi, the prime suspect in the motorway rape case, revealed details of how he had managed to hide from the law for almost a month before he got caught by police on Monday evening.
According to sources, Malhi revealed to police that he spent a month travelling through various cities in Punjab by using public transport, wearing a mask over his face.
The motorway rape prime suspect revealed that he fled to Nankana Sahib after allegedly raping the woman while his accomplice, Shafqat, escaped to Dialpur.
With the police on his trail, Malhi escaped from Nankana Sahib and went to Bahawalpur, where he managed to evade the police and avoid recognition by wearing a mask over his face.
“I travelled through various cities in public transport,” sources quoted the suspect as saying, adding that he ultimately got caught after he ran out of money and was forced to contact his wife.
“Me, Shafqat and Bala Mistri went [to the highway] to commit robberies near Karol village,” he said, according to sources. “Mistri did not proceed with us. However, Shafqat and I went towards the jungle in Karol.”
Malhi disclosed that he and Shafqat robbed two to three truck drivers near Karol village near the motorway, before they sexually assaulted the woman.
He said that the car’s flashing indicators caught his attention and upon seeing a woman inside, Malhi told her to come out. Confirming initial reports of the crime that had been reported in media, he said when the woman refused to come out of the car, he broke the vehicle’s window and dragged her outside.
“After robbing the woman of her watch, jewellery and money, we told her to go down the motorway,” he said, according to sources. “When the woman refused to do so, we took her children off the motorway, and the woman followed to protect them.”
Malhi then revealed that the suspects gang-raped the woman when she came down the motorway to protect her children. The suspect revealed that he and his accomplice fled when the Dolphin Police force arrived and fired shots into the air.
Abid Malhi arrested through scientific investigative methods: Police
Meanwhile, Lahore police spokesperson said that Malhi had been arrested through scientific investigative methods.
“A special investigation team led by Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Shahzada Sultan worked day and night to crack the case,” the spokesperson said.
He said that Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) SP Asim Iftikhar played “a crucial role” in arresting Malhi, and that police conducted raids in Lahore, Faisalabad, Chakwal, Gujarat, Sialkot, Kasur, Nankana Sahib, Gujranwala, and Bahawalnagar to arrest the motorway rape suspect.
“Further investigation will proceed in light of the evidence and the law,” he said.
The spokesperson said that Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar was forwarded a daily report on the matter ever since the tragedy took place. “Inspector-General Punjab Inam Ghani is grateful to the public and media for giving time [to authorities] to arrest the suspect,” the spokesperson said.
CM Buzdar and IGP Punjab have announced an award for the special investigation team and the CIA officers involved in the case, he added.
Police arrest Abid Malhi
Police announced that the prime suspect in the motorway rape case, Abid Malhi, was arrested earlier on Monday from Faisalabad. Malhi managed to escape arrest for one month before he was caught and taken to Lahore, where his DNA test will be taken.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), Special Branch of the police and other agencies had done a recce of the suspect and tipped off Punjab police about Malhi’s whereabouts before they arrived in Faisalabad to apprehend him.
Sources told that a trap had been laid out for the motorway rape prime suspect, which ultimately led to his arrest. Sources informed that Malhi’s wife was taken to Faisalabad by police after the suspect told her during a phone call that he would meet her there.
When Malhi arrived in the city to meet her, he was nabbed by police officials in plain clothes.
Malhi was arrested without any resistance. He was apprehended easily and taken from Faisalabad to Lahore.