HAVERI: In a shocking incident, three employees of a Karnataka government-owned transport utility allegedly raped a minor girl, who studies in Manipal, inside a bus at Ranebennur in Haveri district.

The incident occurred on July 5 but came to light Tuesday. The girl lives in Udupi and studies in Manipal and had gone to Hirekerur to visit a boyfriend.

According to the police, the girl went to meet the friend’s parents who objected to her relationship with their son. Upset by this, the male friend asked the girl to go back to Udupi.

On July 5, the minor girl took a North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) bus to Ranebennur where she was to catch another bus to Udupi. It was around 9 pm when she reached the Ranebennur bus stand. There it is learnt that two NWKRTC drivers and a conductor chatted up the girl and gave her something to eat that was laced with sedatives. Then they raped her inside a bus (KA 42 F 499) parked in the bus stand.

Police said the girl resumed her journey to Udupi in the wee hours of July 6, after she had gained consciousness. In Udupi, she took ill and was admitted to a hospital. There she revealed to her parents and doctors that she had been raped on the bus. The parents lodged a complaint at the Udupi town police station the same day.

The Udupi police went to Haveri district and arrested drivers Veeraiah Hiremath, Raghavendra Badiger and conductor Yuvaraj Kattekar under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. They were produced before a magistrate in Udupi who remanded them in judicial custody for 15 days.

The NWKRTC suspended the three accused employees on Monday evening.