7-year jail term for a man who kidnapped a minor in Mumbai

A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court on Tuesday sentenced a 33-year-old to seven years of imprisonment and ordered him to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the child, who was 12 when he had kidnapped her in 2017 for a ransom of Rs. 2 lakhs and also inappropriately touched her.

Special judge under the POCSO Act Rekha N. Pandhare said that in default of the payment, he undergo simple imprisonment for a year.

Special Public Prosecutor Veena Shelar said that 15 witnesses had deposed, among whom was an auto-driver in whose vehicle Prabhu Khedekar had commuted while giving directions to the parents of the girl to bring the ransom. The auto driver had told in his statement to the police that Khedekar had kept looking for a PCO and then asked for his mobile and made two phone calls from it to someone, asking them to come to particular locations.

As per the police complaint, on 26 March 2017, the girl was on her way in the morning to her tuition classes, when the man had stopped his motorcycle near her and telling her that he was a policeman, asked her to come for a short while to the police station.

She had refused and told him she was getting late for classes. He had then threatened to hurt her with a knife or gun, which he claimed to possess. He then forcibly took her with him and taking her father’s contact number from her, made a ransom call demanding Rs. 2 lakhs within two hours by telling the father that he is Chhota Rajan’s man.

His kidnapping attempt did not go as planned as his mobile’s battery got over, so did the petrol in his bike’s tank when he was on his way with the girl to collect the ransom. He then asked the girl to wait at a bus stop and said her father will come pick her and went off in an auto to get the ransom amount.

He was spotted and chased by the police and arrested. A woman who saw the girl crying at the bus stop after no one had come to pick her, made a phone call to the girl's father after getting his number from her. The girl was then reunited with her parents.

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