Spurred into action by mid-day’s report on their lax approach in nabbing a serial molester on the prowl for over six months, the Mumbai Police have formed a team of over 50 officers, who have been asked to step up the hunt for the one-eyed paedophile.
mid-day’s report on April 9. (Please click here or on the image above to read the article)
Besides this 50-member team, all 12 units of the Crime Branch have mounted a widespread hunt for the serial child molester, who sexually attacks girls in the 8-15 age group. The man — identified by a damaged eye — is now at the top of the Mumbai Police’s list of wanted criminals. Last Monday, he assaulted a 13-year-old, while she was on her way home from school in Sion (‘Caught on CCTV: One-eyed serial child molester targets 13-yr-old girl,’ April 9).
Sketch artists put to the task have prepared five different sketches of the man, based on CCTV footage, and different descriptions provided by the children he has attacked in the past six months.
Armed with these sketches of the molester, cops have also started patrolling parks, schools and playgrounds, in hope of nabbing the man who has, in the past six months, sexually assaulted 13 minors.
Police have learnt that the accused identifies himself as Rakesh and Irfan, on different occasions. He consumes gutka and is inebriated when he attacks children. “We have made his sketches on the basis of the CCTV footage. We are patrolling railway stations, schools and parks, armed with these sketches. We are also checking slums in Versova-Amboli and Goregoan,” said a Crime Branch official.
The police are also speculating that he lives near a railway station, as he has targeted a telling number of children who live near railway stations.
Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria has formed the special squad of Mumbai Crime Branch officials, which is conducting a systematic search for the man under the guidance of Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police. “Around 50 people from the Mumbai Crime Branch are working on the case. The western region police are also working on the case,” said a police officer from the Mumbai Crime Branch.
Milind Bharambe, additional commissioner of police, western region, said, “We have asked policemen to stand vigil outside parks and schools, and be on the lookout for one-eyed persons in civil dress.”
The police are also trying to identify the mobile phone of the accused. The first case against the man was registered in Goregoan. Eight more cases have been registered in police stations of Juhu, Santacruz, DN Nagar, Amboli and Versova. In more recent times, cases have been registered in Sion, Vakola, RAK Marg, and Antop Hill. The total number of FIRs registered against him has risen to 13.
With schools shutting down for summer vacations, the cops suspect that the man will lurk in parks, in search of unsuspecting minors at play. “He tells the children that he is a friend of their father, whose number he needs. At other times, he accosts the children, dials a number on his phone, and lures the kids by telling them it is a call from their father. He mostly targets kids below 10 years. He doesn’t pick them up, but asks them to follow him,” said the police officer.
Leaving no stone unturned, the police are checking Aadhar card data, and eye specialists based in slum areas, for any scrap of information on the accused.
FACE OFF: The sketches of the accused, which are helping the police in their search, have been prepared on the basis of CCTV footage and descriptions provided by the minors he has attacked
Seen this man on the prowl?
One of the eyes of the accused is completely white. The mustachioed man speaks in Hindi. He swings his arms vigorously as he walks, wears his hair down to his neck with a middle parting. He is aged between 28 and 31. He is usually armed with a knife, with which he threatens his young victims.