A 32-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a 13-year-old girl, daughter of a migrant worker, while the family was walking to their native place in Akola from Mumbai in May, Jalgaon police said. The man, police said, was also wanted in the kidnapping case of a 26-year-old migrant worker from Akola. The woman was reportedly abducted while she was walking back to her native village in Chhattisgarh, police said, adding that the motive in both the kidnapping cases was sexual assault, but did not take place in either case.
Ganesh Banger, a resident of Malegaon, was arrested from Nashik after police traced him through his mobile location, and sent to judicial custody at Jalgaon.
On May 19, he had kidnapped the 13-year-old child from Jalgaon, while her family was walking back to Akola from Mulund in Mumbai, where they were stranded due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The accused had approached the family when they had stopped for lunch at Jalgaon and offered to drop the child and his 17-year-old brother at Akola on his bike, a police officer from Nasirabad police station in Jalgaon, said.
After riding at least seven kilometres with the two siblings, the man had asked the boy to walk for some distance to avoid being stopped at a police checkpoint ahead. He had assured to meet the boy after the police barricade but had instead sped off with the minor girl. When the boy could not find his sister, he informed his parents following which a case was registered at Nasirabad police station in Jalgaon.
The girl was rescued from Loni Takli area in Amaravati the next day, Assistant Police Inspector Pravin Salunkhe from Nasirabad police station said. ‘After recording the girl’s statement, we formed four special teams to locate him. As his call data record showed that he has been travelling between Pune and Nashik, we sent a team to Nashik and caught him there,’ said an investigator.
During interrogation, police found Banger had kidnapped a migrant worker from Akola on May 6 and had at least 10 cases of cheating and stealing registered against him in different districts of Maharashtra.
According to police, on May 6 Banger has approached a group of migrant workers, walking towards Chhattisgarh from Surat, at Murtizapur area and offered to arrange transportation for them. When they agreed, he asked them to get their medical tests done. ‘Banger first took the victim’s husband to a nearby hospital for a medical test, but they had to return as the doctor was reportedly on leave. On returning to the spot, Banger suggested that they should get the test done from another hospital and asked the wife to accompany him to it. Instead of taking her to the hospital, Banger kidnapped the woman,’ an officer said, adding her husband lodged a case at Murtizapur police station when the woman did not return for a long time. ‘In this case too, Banger abandoned the woman at Washim on May 7. No sexual assault was reported,’ the officer said.
Murtizapur police have now written to Jalgaon police seeking Banger’s custody.
An investigator said, ‘Medical examination of both the victims showed they were not sexually assaulted. We believe he knew that police were chasing him, so he may not have committed crime out of fear.’
The bike used for the kidnappings was also stolen, police said.
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