The police found his image in CCTV footage, and now they hope to find his address by checking phone records of 52,000 people in the area
The Bandra Government Railway Police (GRP) is leaving no stone unturned in its pursuit of the man who allegedly molested a 23-year-old partially-blind law student in a local train three weeks ago. Until recently, all they had to go on was the fact that he had introduced himself to the girl as ‘Amit’. Now, cops have also found his image after combing CCTV footage from 50 cameras between Churchgate and Andheri. They are now trying to track down his address by going through the mobile phone records of 52,000 people who used their phones near Khar station around the same time the accused had a phone conversation there.
The GRP officials gave minute details of the incident. While her parents live in Vikhroli, the 23-year-old, second-year law student resides in a hostel in Churchgate and also holds tuition classes in Mumbai Central. She also volunteers at an Andheri-based blind institute.
It was at Andheri station that the police finally found three seconds of footage that clearly shows the accused’s face as he fled after the woman shouted for help
On December 22, the woman took an Andheri-bound train from Churchgate. She knew this train would halt at platform 2 upon arriving at Andheri, which would require her to take the foot over bridge to head towards her destination. To avoid this, she got down at Khar station so she could take the next Borivli train, which would stop directly at platform 1 in Andheri.
She waited at the designated spot for the handicapped compartment, but was misdirected by a stranger, told her the coach had gone a little ahead, and led her ahead, into the luggage compartment instead. The 23-year-old distinctly remembers that the man was wearing full sleeves that brushed by her arm.
Once they had boarded the coach, it became apparent that the man knew her. Addressing her by her name, he said, “Hi, I am Amit. I love you very much and I want to marry you. Please tell your parents or give me your address; I will speak to them.”
The law student responded that she did not know him. But as the train neared Andheri, he mounted the pressure and began to demand that she accept his proposal. But when the woman shouted for help, he panicked, got off the train and fled.
The exchange between the accused and the girl makes it clear that the man not only knows her name, but is infatuated with her. The only time he made physical contact was when he grasped her hands while asking for her address. However, the police have still registered this as a case of molestation since he touched her without her consent.
“We suspect it could be another one-sided love affair like the Preeti Rathi case,” said an officer from the Bandra GRP. The unrequited love angle is pushing the police to find the accused faster to avert any untoward incident in the future.
The cops went through footage from over 50 CCTV cameras between Churchgate and Andheri.
At Khar station, they found footage that shows the accused talking to the survivor, but it was at Andheri that they found three seconds of footage where he is seen clearly.
The woman also remembered that the man had answered a call around the time they boarded the train at Khar. Based on this information, the cops are also going through the mobile phone records of 52,000 people who were using their phones at the time of the incident in that area.
“We have got data from around 35 mobile towers in Khar. We have addresses of 52,000 people and we have verified the identities and addresses of 4,000 of them so far. A detection team of ten constables are on the job,” said another officer.
“It is very tiring and lengthy process, but we hope to nab the accused before long. We are searching every single place where the woman travels or has any connection to. If anyone identifies the accused, they should immediately inform Bandra GRP,” he added.