He offered the child a lift on his motorcycle, and then allegedly went on to brutally rape and murder her. Cops yesterday arrested Rahul Gajanan Tumbda less than 12 hours after the body of the 12-year-old girl was recovered from an isolated farmland in Sharja-Mori village near Vasai. The 20-year-old has been booked under sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 4 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Rahul Gajanan Tumbda (20) was arrested yesterday for allegedly raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl in Vasai
Rahul Gajanan Tumbda (20) was arrested yesterday for allegedly raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl in Vasai

The girl, a Std VII student of a nearby Zilla Parishad school, had mysteriously disappeared while returning home on January 17. After a frantic search to find her failed, her parents registered a missing person complaint at Waliv police station on Friday. Local cops began a search operation and also informed their counterparts across the region about the disappearance. They received information from native villagers about the body of a girl lying in a semi-nude state at a farmland last morning. A police team reached the spot and, after identifying the body, swung into action.

“We formed several squads and started looking for the victim. Her body was discovered later. After questioning some locals, we got information about the person who was last seen with the girl. A team immediately detained Tumbda, and during interrogation he confessed to the crime,” said Anil Kumbhare, superintendent of police, Thane (Rural).

“The accused owned up that he was her neighbour, and had his eye on her for the last few days. On January 17, when she was walking home, on the pretext of dropping her, he took the child to a secluded spot where
he first raped her, and then, as the victim knew him, he decided to kill her to save himself,” he added.