Updated: October 2, 2018 2:25:40 am
An alleged serial molester, who was out on bail, was arrested on September 26 for allegedly sexually assaulting at least 17 girls, aged between 12 to 15 years, since he procured his bail in 2015.
Identified as Rehan Qureshi (34), the accused was arrested from Mira Road by the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch. “The accused used to attack younger girls as they were easy targets. He was unmarried and lived with a younger physically disabled brother,” said a senior officer privy to the investigation.
“In 2015, he had held the hand of a woman in Taloja and the woman reported him. He had been arrested, but managed to secure bail. He then went off the grid. Few cases registered against him in 2016. He then resurfaced in 2017, with multiple cases against him. But most of the cases were registered against in 2018. It is clear that he gathered courage out of the fact that he was getting away with these crimes, and no one was able to identify him,” the senior officer said.
The accused has not been fully cooperating with the police, sources said. “He isn’t giving us all the answers. However, we are interrogating him. We shall also keep an identification parade for the minors to identify him as per court order and legal procedure,” said an officer. The police is planning to ask psychology experts to help with the investigation, sources said.
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Qureshi was noticed when he was spotted in several CCTV footage around the areas where young girls were sexually abused, sources said.
“We realised that although he changed his look by changing his hair and dress-up, his peculiar gait gave him away. We showed his pictures to some of the victims who identified him,” said an officer.
The accused has attacked close to 20 minors in and around Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar and Mumbai, police said. “He might have attacked more girls, but the cases were never reported. We are interrogating the accused and are looking at all possibilities,” said the officer.
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