A 28-year-old man has been convicted by the sessions court to ten years imprisonment for raping his minor step-daughter in January last year. The conviction on April 5 came six months after the trial began and a little more than a year after the offence was registered, and was delivered by Additional Sessions Judge V M Mohite.
Police said that during the course of the trial, the victim’s mother became hostile and put pressure on her to retract her statement. Police said the court took cognizance of the fact, placed the girl under its care in a home for children and questioned her separately.
Police said the accused, Ravindra Navale, who is unemployed, had began to live in with a 34-year-old woman in Gita Nagar in Cuffe Parade in 2011. While the victim’s mother worked as a domestic help in Navy Nagar, Navale did painting jobs. “Both Navale and the woman had separated from their spouses and grew intimate. They got married in a temple in Nashik in 2012. Soon, Navale began to live with the woman and her 15-year-old daughter in their home,” said Inspector Sanjay Sangle.
Sangle said Navale would often make passes at and molest the victim when they were alone at home. “He also intended to rape her but never found an opportunity. The girl would be in school till noon and her mother would come home in the evening. With the houses packed close together, Navale was also wary of neighbours,” said Sangle.
On December 31, 2012, the girl had had a quarrel with her mother and walked angrily out of the house. “Navale followed her out and told her mother he would pacify her and bring her back home. However, Navale told the victim that he would take her out. Both got into a taxi and went to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST),” said Sangle.
There, the duo took a train to Wardha and went to the home of a close friend of Navale. police said Navale introduced the girl as his daughter to his friend and his wife. He raped her the same night.
“Navale had gone out drinking that night with his friend and returned home late. The victim was asleep at the time and woke up when he returned. However, she lay next to him because she felt cold. He then raped her,” said Sangle.
The next morning, the victim confided in her host’s wife, who then informed her husband. “Navale’s friend was angry and told him to leave. However, Navale stayed there for two more days while he plotted his next move,” said Sangle.
Meanwhile, the next day, the girl’s mother approached the Cuffe Parade police to register a case of kidnapping. “She believed at first, that Navale had taken her daughter to Gateway to cheer her up and that they would come home at night.
But when she did not return even the next morning, she feared the worst. She believed that Navale had gone to Wardha,” he said. The girl’s mother called Navale, told him that a case had been filed against him and demanded that he return. Navale returned to Mumbai with the victim on January 4, and was arrested.
Navale has been awarded a seven-year sentence for kidnapping and ten years for rape and fined Rs 15,000.