On Monday afternoon, a fourteen-year-old mentally disabled young girl from the Malabar Hill slums had reportedly been abducted and raped in a moving taxi, authorities said on Wednesday. After a disagreement with some of her family members, the girl boarded a taxi from Malabar Hill to her cousin’s house in Malad’s Malvani.
Meanwhile, the girl’s family members, concerned about her absence, went to Malabar Hill police station and filed a kidnapping report because she is a minor. The girl was discovered by Vakola police after the accused allegedly abandoned her. On Monday afternoon, police say they located the girl strolling about the streets. When they looked into it further, they discovered that Malabar Hill police officers were also seeking the same person.
“A team was dispatched there and returned her in about seven hours after she went missing.”. “However, the situation escalated when the girl mentioned her journey to Malad,” said a police officer. The girl told the officers what she knew about the taxi driver and the second man inside the vehicle.
“Shriprakash Pandey, 27, began driving from South Mumbai to Dadar, where he picked up his friend, Salman Shaikh, 27, who owns a lodge. Shaikh, who was in the back seat, is accused of sexually assaulting and raping the woman. After hearing about the victim, the police began looking for the two. They arrested the accused after examining CCTV footage as part of their technical investigation. He confessed to the crime,”, an official stated.
The two have been charged with rape and sexual assault under the Indian Penal Code, as well as sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
According to authorities, “the woman went missing early Monday morning from her residence in south Mumbai. Prakash Pandey, 28, had stopped his cab on the side of the road and was waiting for passengers when he noticed the girl and persuaded her to sit in the taxi. He drove to Dadar and contacted his friend, Salman Shaikh, 26, who joined him in the taxi. While the taxi driver took the girl to Malwani, Shaikh reportedly raped her in the backseat. They then abandoned the sufferer at Malwani and went home”.
The arrested couple is from Dadar. Shaikh works in a small restaurant and distributes tiffins to families, while Pandey drives a taxi. Both were brought to court and are now in police custody.
The victim’s family approached the Malabar Hill police after they awoke to find their daughter missing, according to the authorities. Because the victim is a minor, a case of kidnapping was filed by noon that day based on family members’ statements.
“We examined CCTV footage from the area and discovered some hints.” The police proceeded immediately and identified Pandey using technical evidence as well as the taxi’s registration number. The victim was discovered in the Malwani area, where she was rescued and sent to a medical facility.”
The accused were charged under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as relevant parts of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, based on the victim’s account.