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Mumbai: Two cops held for ‘molesting’ minors at training academy

Updated on: 11 August,2023 07:21 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anurag Kamble |

Male and female constables attached with GRP accused of inappropriate behaviour and harassment; FIR registered under IPC, IT and POCSO Act

Mumbai: Two cops held for ‘molesting’ minors at training academy

Accused Samadhan Gawde

A male and woman police officer associated with the Government Railway Police (GRP) have been apprehended by the Nalasopara police for allegedly molesting underage girls enrolled in their pre-police training academy. The complaint alleges that the male constable would make inappropriate comments and engage in molestation, while his female counterpart would assist him in these actions.

The complainant in the case informed the authorities that the male officer had been sending her explicit messages and had even engaged in inappropriate physical contact. Another complainant, in her statement, disclosed that the accused had initiated a video call with her during which he engaged in inappropriate behaviour. The duo has been charged with offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

According to an 18-year-old girl, she enrolled herself in the Vijayi Bhava Pre-Police Training Academy in Nalasopara West in April 2021. The academy was operated by Samadhan Gawde, 28, and Anuja Shingade, 25, both constables attached to the Vasai Railway Police station. The classes were scheduled from 10 am to 12.30 pm after gathering at the ground at 6.20 am. Initially, rumours circulated that Gawde inappropriately touched girls and sent unsolicited messages, but the victim did not give credence to these claims as she hadn’t witnessed any such incidents first hand.

The victim briefly left the academy in 2022 but returned in May 2023. By then, all the students were new, and she was the only returning senior student. This led to Gawde messaging her about class schedules and administrative matters. Shingade, however, told her to respond to Gawde’s personal messages, which puzzled her. She recollected, “After a few days, he messaged me, asking if I liked receiving messages from him. I responded that I knew who he was and didn’t want his personal chat message. He then tried to explain that he wasn't a bad person and that he didn't view me differently.”

When the victim confided in Shingade, she allegedly linked their phones and justified it by saying she wanted to monitor Gawde’s messages. Shingade herself would sometimes text Gawde, mentioning that the victim liked her and wanted to chat. The harassment escalated, with Gawde inappropriately touching the victim and making video calls. On one occasion, when Gawde noticed the victim’s absence, he called her and revealed he was near her house, asking if he should come over. Frightened, the victim blocked his number and stopped attending classes.

Upon sharing her experience with a fellow student, the girl revealed that Gawde had video-called her while masturbating. Learning of the victim’s departure, Gawde incessantly called and messaged her, but she resisted. Eventually, she opened up about her ordeal to her mother, initially claiming that she had stopped attending classes due to a hand injury.

The victim and her mother visited Nalasopara police station on Wednesday, leading to the registration of an FIR against Gawde and Shingade. The Nalasopara police have filed charges against them under Indian Penal Code Sections 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking) as well as relevant sections of the POCSO Act and the IT Act.

“There are currently two complainants who have come forward. The suspects were arrested on Wednesday night and presented in court. Further investigation, including technical analysis of their phones and interrogations, is required to determine if there are more victims,” stated Vilas Supe, Senior Inspector of the Nalasopara police station.

Age of the male accused

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