A 25-YEAR-OLD man was convicted by a special court Wednesday for posing as a policeman and sexually harassing a 14-year-old girl near Ghatkopar in 2014. The accused, Sudhir Sonawane, had also harassed the girl saying he would show her how rape happens.
Special Judge Rekha Pandhare of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act court sentenced Sonawane for three years imprisonment.
The Class VIII girl had gone near Ghatkopar station one day to buy stationery for an upcoming examination when she met a boy from her neighbourhood and started talking to him. While they were talking, Sonawane called out to the girl and the boy left.
Sonawane told the girl that he was a policeman and he would tell her family that she had been hanging out with the boy.
The victim has said in her statement to the police that the accused kept coming close to her while threatening her. He then asked her if she watched crime serials on TV and told the girl that he would show her how rape happens in those.
The girl has said in her statement that she felt uncomfortable and tried to leave the area when she spotted her mother in an autorickshaw, along with two other women.
She told her mother about Sonawane. He was arrested on August 11, 2014.
On Wednesday, the court examined six witnesses, including the victim, her mother and the boy who had seen the accused approaching the girl.
While pronouncing the judgment, Judge Pandhare told the accused that crime shows on TV are to be viewed to refrain from committing crimes and not use them for such offences.
She further observed that such incidents of men passing obscene and lewd remarks at young girls are to be dealt with appropriately to deter others from committing similar offences.
She said if such offences continue, girls will not be able to roam freely.
Sonawane claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case and sought leniency.
The court has convicted him under Sections 12 (sexual harassment) of the POCSO Act and 341 (wrongful restraint) and 509 (insult the modesty of a woman) under the Indian Penal Code.
After his arrest on August 11, 2014, Sonawane had been booked in another case. The police claimed he had raped a 13-year-old girl few days before the Ghatkopar incident. They said Sonawane had a similar modus operandi. He had entered the house of the victim posing as a policeman and sexually assaulted her.
The trial of that case is pending.