Manipal (Karnataka), June 28: A week after the abduction and gang-rape of a medical student in this educational centre, Karnataka Police Thursday cracked the case, tracing and arresting the three accused - two of whom had attempted to commit suicide knowing the police was on their trail.
All the three culprits are autorickshaw drivers.
"We have cracked the case by arresting the three culprits after one of them confessed to the crime and tipped us off about his two accomplices," state Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Pratap Reddy told reporters here.
The dramatic arrests, two during day and third late evening, came after one of the accused - Yogish, 30, called up Reddy on his mobile phone around 10 a.m. and admitted to have been involved in the crime.
"We nabbed him (Yogish) in nick of time after rushing to the spot from where he called as he had threatened to commit suicide... we found him in an unconscious state as he had consumed poison by then," Reddy said.
The police team, which went to nab Yogish after identifying his location on outskirts of Manipal from his mobile call record, brought him back to the town and admitted to Kasturba hospital, which is adjacent to the medical college of Manipal University.
"Yogish regained consciousness soon after doctors treated him immediately and is out of danger. Questioned, he spilled the beans about the incident and his accomplices, which led to the arrest of the second accused Harish (27) and subsequently the third (Anand), who was missing from the town but was found hanging by a tree outside a village (Badagabettu) at Parkala near Udupi.
Reddy hastened to clarify that a person by similar name (Anand) was picked up in Goa but was let off after he turned out to be someone else as he did not match the description given by Yogish and Harish alias Hari Prasad.
"Passersby found Anand trying to attempt suicide by hanging. An unidentified person called us from the spot and informed that someone was trying to hang himself and was rescued by bringing him down from the tree branch," Reddy said.
"Yogish confessed later that he wanted to die than face the consequences as he came to know that police was tracking him as a suspect since the last three days and he would be trapped soon," Reddy said.
Police also learnt from Harish that Yogish had recorded the entire incident on his mobile phone.
The shocking incident occurred when the victim, a fourth-year 22-year-old student of the Kasturba Medical College, was waiting to hire an auto at the university campus gate to return to her flat from the library last Thursday at 11.30 p.m.
A criminal case was registered June 21 against the three culprits under sections 366 and 376 (abduction and rape) read with 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint by the victim.
Police have also traced the auto used in the crime and seized it.
A major educational centre, Manipal is 5 km from the famous Udupi temple town on the west coast of the state and about 410 km from Bangalore.
The heinous crime, first of its kind in the education centre, sparked off protests by students of the six-decade old privately-run university for arrest of the culprits, stringent punishment to them and security to ensure safety of girls and women employees.
Police formed eight probe teams and announced Rs.2 lakh cash reward for vital information that could lead to trace the accused and the auto rickshaw in which the victim was kidnapped and taken to a secluded spot to commit the crime.