The outpouring of outrage on social media and the streets put added pressure on the police to act swiftly. And they did. Within hours of the appalling gang rape, one of the accused -- Chand Babu Sattar Shaikh (20), a resident of Jai Bhavani Nagar, Saat Rasta -- was arrested.
Cops are now searching for the other offenders -- Vijay Jadhav alias Mannya, Kasim Bangali, Saleem and Ashfaque. “The girl was raped six times; one of them did it twice. Apart from Chand who has been arrested, all of them have criminal records and were doing drugs in the compound. They have been previously apprehended for incidents of theft by railway police, and Nagpada and Tardeo police stations,” said an officer. During questioning, Chand revealed that he had received a call from friend and main accused Kasim Bangali, who asked him to have a look at the victim when she was visiting the mill area.
“Twenty Mumbai police teams are working on the case to locate the accused. All Crime Branch units and police stations are involved in the probe,” said Dr Satyapal Singh, commissioner of police, Mumbai.
“The arrested accused Chand has confessed to the crime and we will seek the maximum punishment for the accused. We will request government for a fast-track trial in the case,” he added.
Moreover, investigators have been tracing the locations of the absconding accused through their mobile phones. As per information available, they are possibly holed up at Vashi and Govandi. “They have still not left the city. We are hoping to arrest them soon,” an officer close to the investigation added.
Chand’s grandmother Sharna Bai said, “My grandson has been trapped in the case by Kasim Bangali and another accused. Kasim called up Chand while he having a cup of tea. He took off immediately after the call. Chand is an orphan, and he does odd jobs, like working at a small butcher shop and gets Rs 50 a day. I sell vegetables and that’s how we get to eat.”
Kasim Bangali’s shanty at Saat Rasta was empty. “Kasim is a historysheeter, rarely comes to the house, and is unmarried,” said neighbour Noori Shaikh.