A 16-year-old mentally disabled girl was allegedly raped by her neighbour, a 65-year-old man, in the Tilak Nagar area of Chembur.
According to the Tilak Nagar police, the accused man and his handicapped son have been living as a neighbour next to the victim's family for many years and had a friendly relationship with them. "The matter shocked the victim's family as he (accused) frequently ate lunch and dinner with their family for many years. They saw him more as a family member than a neighbour," said a police official.
Mother noticed daughter's growing stomach
The matter surfaced on Wednesday when the victim's mother noticed her daughter's growing stomach, which surprised her. The victim was taken to a hospital to diagnose her when the doctor informed that the girl was almost four months pregnant. "After asking her several times, she (victim) mentioned what had happened to her since June to her mother," added the official. The mother also confronted the accused, but he kept denying everything.
The victim's mother approached the police on Thursday afternoon and registered a first information report (FIR) against the accused. By the time the police reached his residence, he had locked his son inside the house and disappeared. A team of police personnel, led by PSI M. D Mundhe started looking for the accused in all nearby places. "We started the search but realised the accused was on guard and that we were looking for him. We gave up our uniforms, and changed into civil wear to nab him. After looking for him for at least 2 hours, we found him hiding behind the bushes in the Nagwadi area of Chembur. He was arrested and taken to the police station for further inquiries," said Mr Mundhe.
Interestingly, the team of police that were searching for the accused were also on the lookout for another accused. "The search was on for an accused in a case registered last year, 2022. We had a tip-off about him being in the area, so when this matter came up, we were basically looking for two accused and luckily succeeded in one," added Mundhe.
Accused confessed to his crime
The victim girl was sent for medical examinations for further verification and evidence against the accused. However, during the interrogation, the accused confessed to his crime and admitted that he had raped the victim more than thrice between June to September. Given the disability of the victim, the accused was apparently confident that what he did to her would never get to see light, added the police official.
He was presented in court on Friday evening. Police have requested for police custody as further interrogation is required to acquire facts and a sequence of events which will be added to the chargesheet.
In the FIR, police have added sections including 376 (rape), 376 (2) (n) (repeated rape on the same woman) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 4 (penetrative sexual assault), 6 (sexual assault), 12 (sexual harassment) among others of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.