|The accused: Ayaz Mohammad Ali Ansari aka Firoze Kaniya|
After inspiring terror in the hearts of parents for nine months, the notorious one-eyed serial child molester was finally nabbed by police officials last morning, from the Golibar area in Khar (East). The arrest came after police teams stepped up the search to nab the paedophile. The DN Nagar police finally nabbed the man.
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Till a week ago, cops did not even know that the molester, who already had 13 cases lodged against him, was a 35-year-old man named Ayaz Mohammad Ali Ansari alias Firoze Kaniya.
Ansari was arrested by the Malad police in a robbery case last year. He spent six months in jail and was released in May. He started attacking young girls in the suburbs. Ansari is a habitual criminal and a drug addict.
He was almost always under the influence of drugs, and the children that he molested all complained of smelling it in his breath. He targeted kids between 7 and 13 years of age.
He even has cases of thefts lodged against him. Ansari was a resident of Avdin Society, Ekta Nagar, Juhu Gully, and was notorious in the area. He stayed with his sibling and his mother, who eventually threw him out.
A neighbour said, “Ansari’s family members always fought with him. They changed house several times because of his criminal activities and drug addiction.” He was usually found under the influence of either ganja or charas.
Other addicts in his area would refer to him as Kaniya. After his family kicked him out of their home, he spent most of his time in the Nirmal Nagar area of Khar (East).
In fact, Ansari molested several girls in this area, none of whom came forward to complain. After word spread that eight children in the area had been molested, the first FIR was registered against him on July 9.
A meeting was held between police officers and the mohalla committee, and a sketch of Ansari also released. But the cops did little to follow up on the matter. The sketch was not published in newspapers or shown on television.
Meanwhile, emboldened by police apathy, Ansari started luring and attacking children with alarming frequency. He even snatched mobile phones, money, cycles from his young victims and fled. He would steal from them to buy drugs.
According to the police, he even molested and robbed young girls on local trains. At a press conference following the arrest, Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said while 13 FIRs were registered against him for molestation, he had confessed to attacking 12 more girls – taking the count of victims to a shocking 25.
Ansari would accost young girls, and tell them that he was a friend of their father’s and had a message for them. He would then take the child to an isolated spot and molest her, before fleeing.
Thirteen such cases were registered against him in the suburbs, the most recent attack taking place in Sion on April 9. Depending on the religion of his victim, he would identify himself as Rakesh or Irfan, and refer to their father as ‘papa’ or ‘abba’. Maria said that several times, members of the public had even caught him, but unaware of his notoriety, let him go after thrashing him or warning him.
Cracking the case
With pressure mounting on the police after mid-day’s successive reports on his crimes, Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria took personal initiative and mobilised a city-wide hunt for him. All Crime Branch units and local police units were asked to work on the case. Several informers and drug addicts were picked up, and eye hospitals were checked, to narrow down the search.
In their hunt, the cops were armed with five different sketches of the man, each drawn up from accounts given by his victims. CCTV footage obtained of the man from Amboli also helped them get an idea about his hairstyle and gait.
The investigating officer in Malad police, who had arrested him last year, saw this CCTV footage, and identified him as Ansari by his characteristic gait.
The officer informed the investigating team about Ansari’s whereabouts and his identification. All Crime Branch units, local police teams and other cells of Mumbai police reached his residence. Two days ago, they detained his mother and brother.
Ansari got word of the detention and went into hiding, but had to emerge at Nirmal Nagar for his daily drug fix. The DN Nagar police also got information about his whereabouts from an informer, and laid a trap for him at Golibar, where he was picked up.