Mumbai: College boy sexually assaults, tries to kill girl in SoBo hotel

Threatened to circulate photographs and videos of her if she rebuffed his demand for sexual favours; he then tried to strangle her and left her for dead

A 19-year-old youth allegedly sexually assaulted and tried to kill a 17-year-old collegemate at a four-star hotel in South Mumbai on Tuesday when she refused to give in to his demand for sexual favours. He allegedly blackmailed the girl, saying he had explicit photographs and videos of her in compromising positions and would circulate them via WhatsApp and other online platforms if she rebuffed him.

The 17-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at Hotel Krishna Palace in Grant Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The 17-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at Hotel Krishna Palace in Grant Road. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Gamdevi police said the youth, Kunal Desai, and the girl, a resident of Dadar, were old friends, but had a falling out recently. Desai is the son of a businessman and resides in a plush housing society opposite Haji Ali Dargah in Tardeo.

On Tuesday, he told the girl that he wanted to talk to her and asked her to meet him at Nana Chowk. The girl arrived at the meeting spot with a friend. Desai then took them to Hotel Krishna Palace in Grant Road West, where he had booked a room the previous day. He convinced the girl's friend to leave them alone, saying he needed to talk things in private.

Tortured for 45 minutes
As soon as the two were alone, Desai demanded sexual favours from her, threatening her with defamation otherwise. He then started to touch her inappropriately. When the girl resisted, he allegedly overpowered her and sexually assaulted her. As she fought back, he thrashed her and tried to strangle her with a rope he had brought along with him. The girl then lost consciousness. Perhaps assuming that she was dead, Desai escaped.

The ordeal lasted close to 45 minutes. Close to an hour later, the girl’s friend, who was clueless about the sexual assault, called up on her phone to check up on her.

When the call went unanswered, she got worried and called a few friends to the hotel. Together, they banged on the room’s door. The girl, who had by then regained consciousness but was in a bloodied state, answered the door and recounted her assault. Her neck bore ligature marks and she had sustained serious injuries to an eye and the nose.

With the help of the hotel staff, the girl was rushed to the Hinduja Hospital.

Parallel probes
Police have filed an FIR against Desai, who is still absconding, under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (rape), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with the intent to outrage her modesty), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 504 (intentional insult with the intent to provoke breach of peace) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the IPC, sections 4 (penetrative sex) and 13C (use of child for pornographic purposes, including indecent or obscene representation) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and 66E of the Information Technology Act (punishment for violation of privacy policy).

Police plan to record the girl’s statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Crime branch officials from unit 2 are also conducting a parallel probe into the alleged sexual assault and have launched a manhunt for Desai.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone 2) Sandeep Karnik did not respond to calls and SMSes, while Additional Commissioner of Police (South) Pratap Dighavkar refused to comment on the matter.

Hotel Krishna Palace denied that the assault took place on its premises.

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