A bizarre turn of events left a 15-year-old villager who had run away from home to meet her boyfriend in Mumbai, lost, repeatedly raped and even married in a month.
The girl from Wai, about 35km from Satara district, left home on January 17 a day after she got a call from boyfriend Nitin Mashal, who lives in Dombivli, asking her to meet him. A bus and a train ride later, she arrived in Thane around 9pm. But, she couldn’t get through to Mashal after trying his number from a phone booth outside the station.
Distraught, she went back to the station. Two men, Gopal Krishna Dashri, 27, a Ghatkopar resident, and Rajendra Bhaskar Naidu, 20, from Govandi, approached her. Dashri offered to let her stay at his house. The girl, moved by his act of ‘kindness’, went along with him. l
Between 12.30am and 1am on January 18, Dashri allegedly sexually assaulted her and around 4 hours later, Naidu took her to his house and also forced himself on her.
Around the same time, Dashri contacted Vishvakeshan Laxman Bendu, 25, also a resident of Ghatkopar, and told him to meet him at the Thane station, where the girl was handed to him.
The girl’s struggles were far from over. Two days later, Bendu allegedly took the girl to the Sai Baba Mandir in Ghatkopar and married her there. For the next six days, they lived with his family in Rambai Colony in Ghatkopar (E).
Around 11 on February 6, Bendu took the girl to a lodge in Rabale and raped her.
The next day, he took her on a sightseeing trip to the Gateway of India. After spending the whole day with her, he allegedly left her alone under the pretext of making a quick stop at a toilet.
When he failed to turn up for an hour, she caught a train for Ghatkopar from CST. But the young girl had no clue where Bendu lived and so, spent the night at the railway station.
The next day, she approaced the CST railway police, who reportedly made her wait for an hour. Thereafter, the Colaba police took her to their station since Bendu had filed a missing person complaint there.
It was then that the girl finally got help. When the Colaba police heard her traumatic case, they arrested Bendu and intimated the girl’s parents at Wai.
After her father and some relatives took her home, they filed a complaint at the Wai police station on February 10. The Wai police registered a case under section 363 (kidnapping), 366(A) (procuration of a minor girl), 376 (d) (sexual assault by gang and punishment for repeat offenders) as well as sections 5(G)/6 and 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, but later transferred it to the Thane government railway police.
“Through Bendu, the two other accused were arrested. Since it all began at the Thane railway station, we transferred the case to their police,” says DH Dhome, inspector at Wai police station.
Rohini Kale, investigation officer at Thane government railway police, says a hunt is on for Mashal.
Dashri, Naidu and Bendu were on Monday produced in a Thane court, which remanded them in police custody for 10 days.