The eight-year-old girl, who was thrown into Ulhas River from a flyover in Badlapur by her stepfather, had survived after putting up an 11-hour fight. The accused, Tulsiram Saini (38) was still at large until yesterday. He was arrested in Kalyan from the house of a woman he claimed was his wife.

mid-day had reported on July 2 that Saini had thrown the girl, Ekta, in the water on Wednesday night at around 8 pm as she was not his child and he did not like her. But the girl managed to hang onto water hyacinth plants for 11 hours to save her life. Next day, at around 6.45 am, she was spotted by a security guard, who alerted the cops, and she was rescued.

A resident of Lokmanya Nagar in Thane, Saini was arrested six days after the incident. “After the incident, he had switched off his mobile phone and was absconding. We tried to trace his location and with the help of local sources we found that he was living with a woman in Kalyan,” said MN Satdive, police inspector (Crime), Vartak Nagar police station. The accused on being arrested claimed that the woman he was living with was his wife but could not present any proof.

On July 29, Saini took Ekta out on the pretext of buying her new shoes and then threw her in the river. “While he claims that he didn’t commit the crime, we are gathering information based on his mobile phone location. We are also recording the statement of Ekta and the neighbours, who saw him take the daughter with him. The girl also blamed Saini and his friend,” said Swapnil Pradhan, police head constable, Vartak Nagar police station.

On Thursday, Nirmaladevi had registered a case at Vartak Nagar police station under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 364 (abducting in order to murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC. Saini was presented before court yesterday and taken into two days’ police custody.