Had cops acted quickly, our child would have lived: Kin of Bhandup girl raped and killed

Updated: Nov 12, 2019, 16:30 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Accused had abducted the girl on November 5 from Bhandup, her body was found near Vidyavihar railway station on November 9, a day after her relatives caught the suspect

CCTV footage of the alleged rapist and killer. Pictures/ Rajesh Gupta
CCTV footage of the alleged rapist and killer. Pictures/ Rajesh Gupta

A 31-year-old man was arrested on Sunday for allegedly abducting and killing a 10-year-old girl from Bhandup last week. The locals in the area caught the suspect and handed him to the police. The suspect was identified through CCTV footage in which he was seen wandering the streets in Sonapur area for 30 minutes before picking up the child. The minor's relatives claimed that they examined the CCTV footage after the abduction and informed the cops about the suspect. However, the cops didn't act promptly, they said.

"Had the investigation started on that very day, who knows, we would have found our child alive," said Zakee Ahmad, a relative of the deceased.

The suspect identified as Ajit Kumar, a resident of Wadala, had abducted the girl on November 5 from Sonapur in Bhandup and took her towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, the police said. Her body was found near Vidyavihar railway station on November 9, a day after her relatives caught the suspect.

The child's kin told mid-day that after she went missing on November 5, they examined footage from over a dozen CCTV cameras in the area and spotted the suspect. "Before filing a complaint, we had checked footage of 12 to 15 CCTV cameras. Later, we went to the police station and told the cops that we have spotted the suspect taking our child towards Nahur railway station in the footage from Panchratna Hotel," said Ahmad.

However, the police were unable to trace the suspect or the girl for the next two days.

Ajit Kumar
Ajit Kumar, the accused

The Bhandup police, however, refuted the allegations saying they thoroughly investigated the matter. "We started the investigation as soon as we received the complaint. There were some missing links in the CCTV footage. Four teams worked day and night to track down the girl," said Shyam Shinde, senior inspector at Bhandup police station.

It was the locals in the Sonapur area who caught Ajit with the help of the picture from the CCTV footage the child's kin had circulated in the locality.

"On November 8, while offering afternoon Namaz, we received a call from a friend who said they had caught the suspect near Sonapur Masjid," said Mohammed Moazzam Sheikh Azami, the child's uncle. "We immediately handed him over to the cops. We were expecting he would tell us about our child, but he didn't say a word. We found the decomposed body of our child the next day," he added.

"We had checked each and every CCTV camera in Bhandup, but unfortunately couldn't track the suspect. It was after a detailed interrogation after his arrest that we got a clue about the incident," Shinde said. The police on Monday produced Ajit in court, which remanded him in police custody for seven days. "We are now trying to find out if he has any criminal record. In CCTV footage, we saw him wandering in the Sonapur area for 30 minutes before picking up the girl," Shinde said.

According to the postmortem examination at Rajawadi Hospital, the girl was sexually assaulted and then strangled to death. The body was decomposed, which indicates that the accused killed her on the day he allegedly abducted her. According to the CCTV footage, he was seen getting down at Vidyavihar railway station and taking the girl towards Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, said a cop.

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