In a breakthrough in the March 1 kidnapping and rape of the five-year-old girl in Aarey Colony, Unit X of the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested an auto driver yesterday.
“We have arrested the auto driver on the basis of the blurred CCTV footage available in Aarey Colony, through which half the number and the yellow roof of the auto could be seen,” said Rajvardhan Sinha, acting joint commissioner of police, Mumbai Crime Branch.
mid-day had reported yesterday that the yellow roof was one of the only major leads that the police had in the case. The police had questioned around 1,000 auto drivers to detect the case and the accused has been identified as Shivkumar Ramlakhan Rana, (30), a resident of the same area as the girl, who hails from Chatra in Jharkhand.
Police said the auto driver, who was under the influence of alcohol, had kidnapped the minor girl, who was on her way to buy milk near her house in Andheri, by telling her that he would drop her home later. He then allegedly sexually assaulted her in an isolated area in Aarey Colony and then abandoned her there.
“The girl initially resisted going with him, but he told her that he was taking her home in his auto,” said Sunil Deshmukh, assistant commissioner of police, Crime Branch. Constable Prakash Warange from Unit IX of the Crime Branch had found the girl around 11 pm on March 1, when he was returning from Ghatkopar on his bike.
He had taken her to a hospital, where she is presently recuperating. “If the constable had not come through that shortcut, the girl might not have been alive today, as she was deep inside the jungle and animals roam in the night in that area,” said Deshmukh. The police suspect that the accused, Rana, may have molested other girls as well.