Jamshedpur, July 16: The prime accused in the alleged gang rape of five women in Jharkhand's Khunti district has been arrested from a village in West Singhbhum district, a senior police officer said.
Baji Samad, a resident of Ludubeda village in Seraikela-Kharswan district, was arrested yesterday, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of West Singhbhum district, Kranthi Kumar Gadidesi, said.
Based on information that Samad was seen near Banasai village, a joint team was formed under Manish Raman, the Additional Superintendent of Police (Operations), West Singhbhum, on Saturday, Kranthi Kumar said.
The team comprised CRPF personnel and policemen from West Singhbhum and Khunti, he said.
They conducted a raid and arrested Samad, he said adding, the accused has confessed to his involvement in the incident during interrogation.
Samad confessed that he and his accomplices had committed the crime at the instigation of self-styled leaders of Pathalgarhi (a tribal custom), the SP said.
'Pathalgarhi' is a practice in which villagers inscribe various tenets on huge stone slabs and ban outsiders in their area.
Five women working with an NGO were allegedly raped at gunpoint by a group of men when they had gone to Chochang village in Jharkhand on June 19 to create awareness about human trafficking.
Five cases under various sections of the IPC were registered against the accused at the Khunti Women police station, Arki police station in Khunti, and at the Tebo, Bandgaon and Karaikela police stations in West Singhbhum district.
Earlier, police had arrested three persons, including a father of a missionary school, last month in connection with the case.
The case has turned out to be a conspiracy of people involved in Pathalgarhi and the Peoples Liberation Front of India (PLFI), police said.