A week after a minor was molested in Sion, the police are nowhere near catching the offender, but they suspect that he may be responsible for a series of similar assaults on school kids in the past six months.
Now, the police have set up special teams together with the Crime Branch, to comb the places where at least 13 such cases have been registered. Most of these incidents happened in the western suburbs, a couple of them at Antop and in Sion.
"We have a few leads and have set up special teams in every police station in the west region. More than a hundred officers are working in this case and we hope to nab the man soon," said Milind Bharambe, additional commissioner of police (western region).
The suspicion was set off on the basis that many of the children were targeted near schools. So the cops are keeping a close eye on private tutorials that are operating in the vacations.
The police have also gathered that the man, whose one eye is said to be damaged, adopts a specific method to lure the children.
"The girls in these cases are aged between eight and 15 years. When he has identified a girl, he introduces himself as a friend of the girl's father. He tells her that he has misplaced her father's phone number and asks her for it," said a police official involved with the investigation.
"When the girl is ready to give him the number, he walks her to a secluded place and after threatening her with a knife he molests her," the police official said.
Another aspect is that he seeks to know the name of the girl and introduces himself accordingly. "In one instance, when he found out that the girl was a Hindu he introduced himself as Rakesh. In another case where the girl was a Muslim, he used the name Irfan," the officer said. "He does this probably so that the victim is not alarmed."
Baburao Gavit, senior inspector, Sion police station, said that in the case in Sion last week they had got CCTV footage in which the man was seen near the girl. "This picture matches with footage available from other cases," Gavit said. "We have made a sketch of the man based on the CCTV footage."