Delhi tailor and alleged serial rapist Sunil Rastogi was able to get away with assaulting hundreds of young girls in the Capital because of the fear of the parents. Police officials say that in most of the cases, the parents of the victims hesitated in approaching the police, fearing harassment by cops and unending legal battle. And this attitude is perhaps what helped Rastogi to evade the law for so long.
Delhi police estimate that there are hundreds of cases in which the accused is involved in. However, they say they still have to talk to the victims and their families.
What is ironic and sad is that despite being arrested once in a case of kidnapping and tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in Uttarakhand’s Rudrapur, Rastogi was however out on bail within six months. He then stopped appearing in court and remained untraceable, leading to Uttarakhand police declaring him an absconder.
Meanwhile, the alleged paedophile came to Delhi, where he worked as a tailor. He allegedly lured girls to deserted places after telling them he had to send clothes and other goods of their parents.
One of his victims—who escaped—recounted her tale of horror. “I was coming back from school around 1:30 pm along with two of my friends when the accused approached me. He pretended to be talking on the phone to my father and said, ‘Oh I found your daughter so I will hand over your stuff to her.’ Since, I thought he was talking to my father, I went with him and he asked my three friends to come as well,” she said.
After luring the girls to a secluded spot, Rastogi attacked them but they escaped. This was on December 13, 2016.
This was just one case that Rastogi was involved in. His activities came to the attention of the Delhi police while investigating another case. Police caught a glimpse of him on CCTV footage but he could not be identified as only his back was visible.
But police persisted and soon they found a pattern. The accused wore the same clothes and took the victims to rooftops and staircases of houses which were either dingy or where students stayed as they were accessible. And while investigating another case the accused’s face showed clearly in the footage and the entire chain of events became clear.
The police then contacted the prisons of neighbouring states and asked for records of other paedophiles who had been released on bail.
It was then that Rastogi’s photograph was found to match the picture of the CCT V footage and he was apprehended on January 14. During interrogation Rastogi is said to have told the police that he had assaulted hundreds of minor girls in the Capital, UP and Uttarakhand.
DNA then spoke to some of the victims’ families and asked them just why they did not go to the police. In response, a father of 10-year-old girl, who had been lured by the victim, stated that the thought of the police calling them to the police station several times is what worried them. “We all have work and have to send children to school. If you report the matter, the police call you many times to the police station and that is a torture for the child and time consuming as well. Even at the court they ask so many questions and the accused is also present there,” he said.
A mother of another victim said the same thing, “We live in a one-room house and are trying to fund the education for our children. I have three kids and I can’t afford to go to the court and police station all the time. I thought it would be better to keep her secure myself and hence I stayed away.”
The accused is now in 14-day judicial custody.