Three days after a 25-year-old school van driver was arrested for allegedly molesting a four-year-old nursery student, the police said they would probe whether the Mazgaon school, where the victim studied, had flouted provisions of the state’s school bus policy. The police said the accused would make the victim sit next to him and allegedly abuse her even as a woman attendant sat in the rear of the van.
Wadala resident Shahbaz Shaikh was arrested Wednesday after the abuse came to the notice of the minor’s parents. The police said the child began to cry Wednesday morning when her mother readied her for school. She then told her parents about Shaikh’s behaviour during the ride to school daily between February 1 and February 10. A medical examination of the girl revealed fingernail marks on her private parts, the police said.
A complaint was lodged at the J J police station after the girl’s parents brought the matter to the school’s notice. “We are speaking to the school to find out if they conducted any background check of Shaikh before hiring him on a short contract,” said Shashikant Surve, senior inspector at JJ police station.
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Shaikh, the police said, had been employed by the school two months ago and would pick up eight children daily. “He would make sure the girl sat next to him during the ride to school. We have questioned the woman attendant. She said she was unaware of the abuse. It does not appear she was complicit in the crime,” Surve said.
The police have also written to the RTO for details of Shaikh’s vehicle registration and to police stations in south Mumbai to find if he has a past criminal record.