Watchman held for molesting
COVID patient in Mumbai hospital

A 21-year-old part-time watchman of a Malad-based private hospital was arrested early on Thursday for allegedly molesting a female patient. The accused, Suraj Kochewad, had entered the victim's room on the pretext of checking the oxygen level, following which he held her hand and tried to smother her before the woman rang the bell and alerted the hospital staff. Kochewad was immediately handed over to the police, who arrested him for molestation charges.

According to police, the incident occurred early on Thursday, around 2 am when Kochewad was found loitering in the hospital corridor. Kochewad, a part-time watchman and a student, who was employed as the security personnel at the private hospital four months ago, often helped the hospital staff doing odd jobs like picking up the machines or the likes of it. On Thursday, he was loitering outside the victim's room, where the woman in her mid-thirties was being treated for the Novel Coronavirus.

Police said that the victim was admitted for COVID treatment on October 30 and was to be discharged on Thursday. "Kochewad was caught loitering outside her room by a nurse, to which he gave an excuse of coming inside to get tea. A couple of hours later, after all the patients were asleep, Kochewad entered the victim's room on the pretext of checking her oxygen level and held her hand tightly while attempting to smother her," said a senior police official.

The woman, while resisting Kochewad's advances, acted on her presence of mind and immediately pressed the ring (buzzer) repeatedly, until the nurse and hospital staff rushed for her rescue. The staff accosted Kochewad and called Kurar Police. The officials said that Kochewad is a Malad resident and has no past criminal record.

The 21-year-old was then arrested and booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for assault or using criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty (section 354) and house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint (section 452), said police. He was produced in a local magistrate court on Thursday and remanded in police custody for a day.

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