LAHORE: Abid Malhi, the prime suspect in the Lahore motorway rape incident, has spilled the beans on how he managed to hide from the police for almost a month before he was finally arrested on Monday evening.
According to police sources, Malhi said he had spent a month travelling through various cities in Punjab using public transport while wearing a mask over his face.
The suspect revealed that he had fled to Nankana Sahib after raping the woman, while his accomplice, Shafqat, escaped to Dipalpur.
With the police on his trail, Malhi fled from Nankana Sahib to Bahawalpur, where he managed to evade the police once again and avoid recognition by wearing a mask over his face.
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“I travelled through various cities in public transport,” the suspect was quoted as saying.
He was ultimately caught after he ran out of money and was forced to contact his wife.
‘Flashing indicators caught our attention’
“Me, Shafqat and Bala Mistri went [to the highway] to commit robberies near Karol village,” Abid Malhi said in his statement to the police, 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 or three truck drivers on the motorway near Karol village before they came upon the stranded woman.
He said the car’s flashing indicators had caught their attention and, upon seeing a woman inside, Malhi told her to come out.
He said that 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 reportedly said.
“When the woman refused to do so, we took her children off the motorway, and the woman followed to protect them.”
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Malhi then revealed that the suspects gang-raped the woman when she came down the motorway to secure her children.
The suspect also revealed that he and his accomplice had fled when the Dolphin Police force arrived while firing shots into the air.
Arrest made using ‘scientific investigative methods’: police
Meanwhile, the Lahore police spokesperson said that Malhi had been arrested using ‘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.
Read more: Woman robbed, raped after car ran out of petrol in Lahore’s Gujjarpura
“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 had announced that Abid Malhi was arrested earlier on Monday from Faisalabad. Malhi had managed to escape arrest for one month before he was caught and taken to Lahore, where his DNA was to be obtained and tested against existing evidence in the Motorway rape case.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), Special Branch of the police and other agencies had spotted the suspect and tipped off Punjab police about Malhi’s whereabouts before they arrived in Faisalabad to apprehend him.
Read more: Lahore motorway gang-rape: LHC slams ‘failed’ police patrolling system
Sources told Geo News that a trap had been laid out for Malhi, which ultimately led to his arrest. Malhi’s wife was escorted 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 for the rendezvous, he was nabbed by police officials in plain clothes.
According to Geo News correspondent Ahmad Faraz, Malhi was arrested without any resistance. He was then taken from Faisalabad to Lahore.