Mumbai: A 34-year-old man wanted in connection with 15 cases of sexual assault of minor girls in Mumbai and surrounding areas has been arrested, police said on Thursday.
Rehan Abdul Rashid Qureshi was nabbed by the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch from Mira Road area of neighbouring Thane district on Wednesday, the police said. Qureshi was identified through a CCTV footage following two incidents of crime, a police official said.
The accused was allegedly involved in at least 15 cases of rape and molestation of minor girls since 2017 in Mumbai and the neighbouring Navi Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts, said Sanjay Kumar, Navi Mumbai commissioner of police. Seven of these offences had taken place in Navi Mumbai township, he said.
The police identified the accused with the help of his walking style as seen in the CCTV footage, Kumar said. During the probe, the police examined around 500 hours of CCTV footage from the areas where the crimes had taken place, the commissioner added.
CCTV cameras at Mira Road railway station and in an area in Navi Mumbai had captured him after he allegedly sexually assaulted two minor girls in separate incidents, Kumar said.
On getting information about Qureshi's whereabouts, the Navi Mumbai police laid a trap at Nayanagar in Mira Road area and nabbed him, the official said.
The modus operandi of the accused was to approach a girl at her house by saying that her father had called her, he said. When the victim accompanied him believing his claims, the accused would take her to an isolated place and commit the offence, the official said.
Qureshi used to tell people he was a salesman, but during the probe, the police found that he was unemployed, Kumar said. He used to carry out reconnaissance of the area three hours before committing the crime, the commissioner added.
The accused took care not to use mobile phone while in the area which made it difficult to zero in on him (as data from mobile towers can reveal which mobile number was used from a particular area during a given period), the official said.
"As of now, we have found his involvement in 15 cases of sexual assault on minor girls. We suspect his involvement in more cases," Navi Mumbai deputy commissioner of police (crime) Tushar Doshi said.
Qureshi was booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 363 (kidnapping) and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. He was produced before a court on Thursday which sent him to police custody till October 6, the officer said.