Mumbai: Hours after the semi-clad body of a four-year-old girl was found near St Michael’s Church in Mahim on Thursday morning, police arrested a 23-year-old man late at night. The accused, Mehdi Hassan Mohhamad Shaikh, also resided on the footpath where the child’s family has been staying for months. Police claim Shaikh is allegedly a sexual pervert who helped them identify him as the prime accused since the time Shaikh accompanied the victim’s father to police station.
Police said Shaikh, a homeless man, lived on the pavement below Razzak Manzil with wife and three daughters. At 3.30am when the girls were sleeping next to parents, he kidnapped the girl and took her to a lane behind the church, raped her and then, strangled her.
Shaikh then left the body there and returned to his family and pretended to be fast asleep. At 4am, when the victim’s father didn’t find her, he alerted pavement dwellers and began a search. To avoid any suspicion, Shaikh joined them. He later took the father to the police station.
When police found the semi-clad body, they lodged a case of murder and rape and began a probe. All top officers from the central region joined the probe. Ravindra Shisve, the Additional Commissioner of Police (Central Region) said, “We quizzed the pavement dwellers. The needle of suspicion pointed at Shaikh. Learnedly, Shaikh was a pervert who would always indulge in public display of affection with wife.”
The top cop said when Shaikh was called for questioning, he didn’t make eye contact and had a restless body. He dodged queries and began changing statements. “Reportedly, he used to touch girls inappropriately and would prey on them.” He was taken into custody. Later, he confessed to the crime, he said.
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