Mumbai: In a dramatic development in the case involving the sexual assault and murder of a minor girl aged 14 the Samta Nagar police personal arrested a youth aged 25 on Sunday for the crime that was committed last month. The police said the confirmed breakthrough in an investigation that crossed over a month-and-a-half came when they found an alternate mobile number that the accused was using.
According to the police, both the victim and the accused were known to each other. The accused was identified as Ajay Banvanshi. The minor girl went missing on October 1 and her family filed a case of kidnapping against unknown persons at Samta Nagar police station on the following day. The girl’s body was found stuffed in a duffel bag on October 3 in Talasari in Palghar district. On taking the body into custody the police registered a case of murder and sexual assault based on the post-mortem report.
As the police conducted the investigation into the crime they zeroed in on Mr. Banvanshi based on the victim’s call detail record (CDR), as he was the last person to speak to her. Senior police inspector Mr. Raju Kasbe said that the police, over the past one month, questioned Mr. Banvanshi repeatedly but were unable to pinpoint his involvement in the crime. During this period he did not display any signs of a suspect such as not turning up for inquiries, switching off his cell phone or leaving the city.
A positive turning point in the investigation came on November 16, when the police officers who were tracking the victim’s CDR identified a second cell phone number. Through technical analysis, they confirmed that it belonged to Mr. Banvanshi. As per the study of the number’s cellular locations during the time that the offense was committed showed that it was in Talasari on the day the body was found dumped there.
The Police, on collecting the evidence once again picked up Mr. Banvanshi for interrogation and during the process, the police confronted him with the fresh evidence, he then broke down and confessed to the crime. Mr. Kasbe said, on October 1, Mr. Banvanshi invited the victim to his residence at 2.30 p.m. and started making sexual overtures to her. When she resisted, he hit her on the head with a metal bottle and strangled her to death. He then disposed of the body in Talasari.
The police then placed Mr. Banvanshi under arrest and filed cases of murder and causing the disappearance of evidence under the Indian Penal Code. He was also charged with the cases of sexual assault and harassment under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He was produced in court and remanded in police custody till November 25, the officers said.