Juhu slum, his family and neighbours weren’t surprised. Years ago, Ansari had been mobbed in the very lanes for allegedly molesting a minor.
A final sketch and poster were prepared, with an informant giving more inputs. Seventy-two hours later, on the morning of April 17, Ansari was held as he got off an autorickshaw at a busy Andheri signal intersection.
Constables Yogesh Kadam and Manoj Desai recall he did not give in easily. “My hands still have marks. He scratched like mad,” says Kadam.
An hour later, Ansari was produced before Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria at the Carter Road police station. “I still remember Ansari’s face when he looked at the commissioner and said, ‘I used to see couples kissing inside locked cars at Chowpatty beach. I wanted the same but didn’t want to pay for the sex’,” recalls Mahapure, who once spent 50 hours at a stretch on a shift in the hunt for Ansari.
(SKETCH 3: Prepared after another video (from Sion) showed suspect with an apparently damaged eye. Police connected a limp with a known mobile thief, whose facial details as described by an informant were incorporated.)
Ansari has been interrogated by several police stations since then. Police officials say it is shocking the details he remembers — down to the colour of the frills of dresses some of the victims wore. He would allegedly target them even as he robbed people of mobile phones, sometimes as many as 17 phones a day, slept in abandoned autorickshaws at night, and used any spare money to snort drugs.
It was easy, Ansari reportedly told his interrogators. “Imagine, all he did was ask the girls to share his number with their father,” says Kshirsagar. “They followed him. He says he only picked on girls who followed him. He played on blind trust.”