RAWALPINDI: The police investigating the sexual assault of a university student have formally transferred the case to the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrime wing.

According to a senior police official, the police had asked the FIA for technical assistance in the case as the police do not possess the technology needed to analyse devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers used by the suspects.

The police had recovered 10 videos of alleged sexual assault from one of the suspect’s mobile phones and sent them to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) for analysis.

The police have also sent the recovered videos to the FIA’s technical wing for analysis, as they believe that the FIA’s wing has better facilities than the PFSA and video evidence in this case is vital.

The main accused in the case has been sent to jail along with his wife, the co-accused, and their bail has been cancelled.

The senior official said the case files have been handed over to the FIA’s cybercrime wing, while the suspect’s mobile phone, laptop computer and other evidence has been sent to the PFSA and will be collected by the FIA as the agency is now investigating.

The police had also asked the FIA to provide the suspects’ travel history. The suspects are charged with abducting and sexually assaulting 45 girls and women. Details of their banking transactions had also been sought.

The main suspect, an IT expert, has travelled to Dubai, Thailand, Azerbaijan and Turkey several times, and the police had not ruled out whether he had connections abroad and if he was selling pornographic videos.

While in police remand custody, the main suspect confessed to abducting and sexually assaulting 45 girls and women – the majority of whom were teenage girls – who were allegedly trapped by his wife.

The police attempted to contact other victims, but no one else approached the police. One of the victims who initially agreed to come to the police later refused to lodge a complaint, apparently due to the social stigma attached to such cases.

The city police officer has said that if the family of any of the victims is reluctant to become a plaintiff due to social pressure, the police will become the plaintiff in these cases.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2019