Fresh from the success of arresting Rehan Qureshi, allegedly involved in 19 offences of molestation, the Navi Mumbai Police Crime Branch is now focusing on another molester who has six sexual offences registered against him. Apart from these six, the police also suspect his involvement in the sexual assault on two siblings in Vashi in 2006. The only clue the police have is his image captured in the CCTV camera from the area and his modus operandi where he pretends to be an employee of a gas cylinder agency while approaching his victims.
Navi Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Tushar Doshi said this particular accused was active in the area around the same time as Qureshi last year. He was allegedly involved in six offences of sexual assault. Besides, there was a brother-sister duo in Vashi, who, the police said had been sexually assaulted by the same accused. “We suspect this accused was involved in that case as well. We have an image of him from the footage taken from around the crime scene in which he is wearing a red t-shirt with classic written on it,” Doshi said.
He added: “Now that Qureshi has been arrested, we are trying to track down this accused. We have circulated his picture among several media organisations and have requested people who may have seen him or know anything about him to come forward.” An officer from the Crime Branch’s crack team, which is looking for the accused, said that cases are registered against the “accused in the red shirt” at Dindoshi, Kandivali, Sanpada, CBD Belapur and Kharghar police stations.
“In the testimony of all the victims, they have said that the accused would approach them claiming to be an employee of a gas cylinder supplying agency. He would tell the girl he targeted that he was supplying the cylinder to her residence and that her father had asked him to contact her for locating the address. He would then take the girl to an isolated spot and sexually assault her,” an officer said. The officer said that in the first half of 2017, a series of sexual assaults took place in Navi Mumbai. During investigation, the police found that two separate people were involved in the cases — one captured wearing a red shirt, while the other in the blue shirt.
When the police team started looking for them, there was a lull in the sexual assault offences between May and August 2017, after which the accused in the blue shirt became active in the area again. “While we eventually identified Qureshi as the one wearing a blue shirt and arrested him from Mira Road on September 26, the one in the red shirt is still at large. While his last offence was in July 2017, sexual offenders are recidivists in nature and often fall back on similar patterns. Hence, we want to nab the culprit in the other case before he becomes active again,” a senior IPS officer from the Navi Mumbai police said.
A police inspector linked to the probe said the unidentified accused operated in Vashi-Koparkhairane, Belapur areas, where the CCTV network was not as extensive as in the other parts of Navi Mumbai. “Due to poor quality of the CCTV footage, identifying the other offender was difficult. However, we are on the case and are hopeful of nabbing him soon,” the officer said.