POLICE HAVE arrested the 35-year-old stepfather of two minor girls for alleged sexual assault and also booked their 32-year-old mother for allegedly failing to report the abuse despite the girls informing her of their ordeal. Police said the girls, aged 13 and 15, took their cue from a crime show on sexual assault and came forward to report the abuse they were facing for months.
According to police, the girls were watching an episode of the show with their grandmother in September, when they began sobbing and confided in her. Police said their mother had separated from their biological father five years back, following which she married the accused and was living with him along with the two girls and a four-year-old son.
“In between, the two girls would visit their biological father in Mumbra. Likewise, in September, they went to their father’s residence. They started crying when they were watching a crime show in which a woman was being sexually assaulted,” an officer said.
The officer added, “The next day, their grandmother took them into confidence and found out about the the sexual assault they were facing at the hands of their stepfather. They told her that their stepfather would force himself upon them in the absence of their mother. The accused raped the 15-year-old in front of her sister and sometimes, he molested them together,” an officer said.
Police said the accused would threaten the girls against telling anyone after sexually assaulting them. “They still gathered the courage and informed their mother about the sexual abuse. They believed that their mother would take legal action against him, but when they were asked to keep quiet about it, the girls did not tell anyone else,” an officer added.
Police said after the biological father learned of the incident, the family approached a social worker in Mumbra and were counselled for a few days, during which the NGO convinced them to register an offence. A case was then registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
“While registering a case, we dispatched a team to their residence but the stepfather and mother had already escaped. We kept tracking the accused through call data records and sent teams to the locations but the couple managed to escape every time. Later, we realised that the accused was in touch with one of his friends,” an investigator said.
Police said they then interrogated the friend and asked him to call the accused, who informed him of his location in Kurar village. A police team was sent to the location and the man was arrested.
Police said the mother was still on the run. “The stepfather was hiding at a relative’s place in Kurar. We are trying to trace the mother. We have learned that she is staying at another relative’s place. We will soon arrest her too,” an officer added.