A School in Kalyan has helped the police nail a 49-year-old man who had allegedly been sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl for the past 10 months.
The suspicion of school officials was aroused when the accused, Praveen Chavhan, who is the victim’s neighbour, landed up at the school last week and insisted he wanted to take the girl for an eye check-up despite being told that only parents were given custody of students.
The school officials decided to talk to the girl and after much convincing, she finally opened up to the school principal.
Based on the victim’s revelations, Chavhan was booked and arrested by the Central police station in Ulhas Nagar on charges of rape. He was subsequently remanded in police custody.
“The incident has left everyone aghast,” said Rishi Malik, trustee of Arya Gurukul School in Kalyan, where the girl studies. “The girl was so disturbed by the whole thing that she refused to speak about it for a while. It was only after we asked her parents to leave and stay out of her sight that she narrated the horrifying details of her ordeal.”
The victim told school officials that the accused used to wait outside her building and enter the lift with her whenever she returned from school. According to her, on reaching the fifth floor, the accused would usually gag her and forcibly push her into his flat to rape her.
The girl said she had suffered the torment for almost 10 months.
“Whenever her parents enquired about the reason for being late, the accused, who was known to the family, told them that she was playing computer games in his flat,” said Dr Vinda Bhuskute, the school counsellor. “The victim is not even able to properly recollect for how long she had been undergoing this.”
On Wednesday, Chavhan visited Arya Gurukul School and met the class teacher and insisted she give the girl a half-day so that she could be taken for an eye check-up.
“Despite telling Chavhan that the school is not supposed to hand over custody of a pupil to anyone except the parents, he kept insisting and arguing with the staff for long before leaving, and then returned the next day and argued with the school staff again,” said Malik. “Finally we approached the girl’s parents and informed them about the accused and found out that his claim was a lie.”
With the help of the school counsellor, the matter was referred to Aasra Childline in Kalyan and further investigations were sought in the matter. The Central police station in Ulhas Nagar was also contacted, and officials there registered a case of rape against Chavhan and arrested him.
“The accused is currently in police custody, and we have sent the girl for a medical examination and are waiting for the reports,” Senior Police Inspector Mahadev Pimpalkar of the Central police station said.
The police said the accused had had a troubled marriage and was living separately from his wife, a schoolteacher. They added that Chavhan had a 15-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son.