A MUMBAI Police head constable was arrested last week for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old girl when he was on duty at a civic hospital in Mulund. Sharad Hande, the 52-year-old head constable, has been booked under Section 354 (sexual harassment) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Hande is attached to the Mulund police station.
Last week, on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, the girl and her mother had gone to MT Agarwal Municipal General Hospital for treatment. According to the police, the girl’s mother, a Bhandup resident, had sustained an injury after an alleged fight with a neighbour.
Hande was deployed at the civic hospital for assistance in medico-legal cases, as per the practice of the Mumbai Police. “The woman told the police constable to take care of the girl while she went to the toilet, as there was no one else with her. When the victim’s mother went to the toilet, the accused allegedly touched the victim inappropriately,” an officer said.
He added: “Once her mother came back, the victim informed her about the incident after which she approached the local Mulund police station. An FIR was registered based on the mother’s complaint and the accused was arrested from the hospital itself.”
Lakhmi Gautam, the Additional Commissioner of Police (eastern region), said: “As soon as the complaint was received, an FIR was registered and the constable was arrested immediately. Also, a proposal for Hande’s suspension has been forwarded to senior officials.”
The case has been transferred from Mulund police station to Vikhroli for further investigation since Hande is attached to the former. Last week, Hande was produced in a court and sent to police custody. He is currently in judicial custody.
A senior official said that the police would be examining the CCTV footage obtained from the hospital to see whether it can assist them in terms of evidence in the case. The official said that apart from the statements of the victim and her mother, staff members and witnesses present at the hospital would be examined.