Mumbai: For the past four months, residents of Kalina, Santacruz (East) were living in constant dread. With the arrest of BMC contract cleaner Raju Jadhav on Sunday night, they can now breathe easy.
The 25-year-old, who was nabbed by Vakola police, has allegedly molested at least eight minor girls in the recent past. He was chased down by a victim's relative and others on April 29, and handed over to the cops.
Police sub-inspector Sandeep Dhable of Vakola police station said, "Jadhav is a married man, and is a resident of Kalina. He is a habitual offender. On Sunday night he followed a minor girl in the area. She had gone to a local shop to buy bread. While she was on her way back, the accused followed her and asked her for her address. The victim showed him her home, but the accused immediately started molesting her. He tried to keep the girl quiet, but she managed to cry out for help. The locals gathered and chased him down." The police were called and Jadhav was arrested.
Reign of terror
PSI Dhable added that the accused's main targets were minor girls, around 10 years old. There was a lot of tension in the area due to these regular incidents.
Residents were also jittery because of the recent spate of kidnappings and murders of minors in Cuffe Parade. The sub-inspector said that till now eight minor girls have come forward and identified the accused. Cops expect more girls to do the same in the coming days.
Senior police inspector Rajendra Pardesi from Vakola said, "To conceal his identity, the accused would cover his victims' eyes with a handkerchief or by his hands at the time of committing the crime. However, many girls have identified him and have willingly registered complaints."
"Jadhav has been charged under section 354 (molestation) of the Indian Penal Code. He was produced in court and has been remanded to police custody," said Pardesi, urging other victims, if any, from the area to step forward and lodge complaints against the accused.