NINE DAYS after a teacher jumped off a running train near Masjid Bunder station to escape a stalker, a man was arrested in connection with the incident on Monday. Subsequently, the police found that the man, identified as Ashrafali alias Sameer Shaikh, had been previously arrested in multiple cases of theft and sexual harassment.
On February 9, a 35-year-old woman had boarded the ladies compartment of a train at CSMT station on way to her school in Parel.
Just as the train began to move, Shaikh allegedly entered the compartment and refused to leave despite the woman reminding him that it was a ladies coach. The police said that Shaikh shut one of the compartment doors and started walking towards the woman, who jumped out of the other door. The woman suffered wounds to the head and feet and a fractured finger. She was rushed to a hospital by railway employees and discharged the same day.
After the woman filed a complaint, the Government Railway Police (GRP) began to scan CCTV footage and found that the suspect had got off the train at Sandhurst Road station and walked through Dongri and past Gol Deol Temple before disappearing from sight.
The police retraced his steps to CSMT station and found that on February 9, he had walked to the station from SNDT Women’s University in Churchgate.
Purushottam Karad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Western Railways), said that a week-long surveillance revealed that the suspect usually reached Churchgate station in the evening. On Monday evening, police informers pointed out Shaikh among a bunch of men who got down from a train at Churchgate and rushed to catch a fast train for Virar.
A GRP constable gave him a chase and caught hold of Shaikh — a Sion resident working with a catering company. A five-inch long switchblade was found on him. Senior Inspector Hemant Bavdhankar of CSMT railway police said that Shaikh had previously served a one-year jail sentence for sexually harassing a minor in 2017 and was out on bail in theft cases registered at CMST and Dadar railway police stations.