The Punjab Police on Monday conducted raids at several locations in Ludhiana after a 21-year-old woman alleged she was raped by 12 men at a farmhouse near Jagraon town, IANS reported. No arrests have been made so far.

The incident took place near Issewal village on the banks of Sidwan canal, around 15 km from Ludhiana, on Saturday night. The woman was travelling to Issewal with a male friend when unidentified men on three bikes forced their car to stop. Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Tarun Rattan told PTI they attacked the car with stones and bricks and dragged both of them out.

The National Commission for Women took suo motu cognizance of the matter and formed a three-member team to investigate, ANI reported.

The men dragged them to a secluded spot near the canal and called six to seven more persons, who allegedly raped the woman. The accused then asked the woman’s friend to call an acquaintance and pay a ransom of Rs 1 lakh, The Indian Express reported. The victims also said that authorities were slow to act when the acquaintance visited a police station on Saturday night. More than an hour later, a police officer accompanied the man to the spot where the two had been ambushed, but failed to locate the victims.

Deputy Inspector General (Ludhiana Range) Ranbir Singh Khatra said Additional Sub-Inspector Vidya Rattan, who was on duty at the police station, was suspended. “We have suspended ASI Vidya Rattan because even when he failed to locate the victims, he did not alert seniors or file any entry in police records,” he said.

Khatra said the police had filed a complaint against unidentified persons after the two victims reported the matter on Sunday evening. The accused were booked under sections 376D (gang-rape), 384 (extortion) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code after the police recorded the victim’s statement.

“The police was informed around 11 pm by their friend, but our ASI went an hour later to spot them,” he said. “They were released by the accused around 2 am when no one turned up with the money.”

The woman underwent medical examination at Civil Hospital in Sudhar on Monday and her swab samples were sent for further examination, said senior medical officer Dr Neena Nakra. Mullanpur Dakha Police Station House Officer Inspector Rajan Parminder Singh said the victims were in stable condition and were discharged after treatment.