Mumbai: The city police officials suspect that a serial killer is on the loose in the region between Mankhurd and Powai.
Within a span of a week, three minor girls, were kidnapped, raped and attempts were made to strangle them to death. Of the three only one survived.
The first incident came to light on February 18, when the parents of a three-year-old girl from Dharavi found out that she had been raped. They approached the Dharavi police who started an investigation to look for the accused.
On Sunday, Mankhurd police found the body of a four-year-old girl at a garbage dump near a construction site. Preliminary investigations revealed that the deceased was raped before being strangled to death.
A similar incident was discovered on Wednesday when the Powai police found the body of another four-year-old girl at a gutter near Tunga Hotel in Powai. This body too bore marks of sexual assault and police officials said that the minor was raped before being strangled.
According to police officials, there are several similarities in all the three cases that has led the police to believe that the culprit for all the cases is the same person.
All the three victims were of the same age group, two were four-years-old while the third was a three-year-old. Apart from the first victim, who was apparently let off after being raped, the two others were strangled after being assaulted sexually. Also, the victims were kidnapped or lured away and were assaulted at a spot just a few minutes away from their residence. Sources said that, the body found in Mankhurd had a scrap of cloth stuffed in the mouth to gag the girl. The body found in Powai on Wednesday was also gagged.
Speaking further on the similarities in the cases, senior police inspector of crime from women’s special cell Prabha Raul said, “While the girl’s body in the Mankhurd case was discovered at a dumpsite, the one found in Powai too was found at a gutter. This proves that the culprit had picked the spots there are fewer chances of a body being discovered from these foul-smelling places.”
In her statement to the police, the only survivor among these cases, the first victim said that she was offered samosa and laddu by a stranger, which she accepted. But she does not remember anything after she ate the snacks. However, she stressed on the fact that only one person had offered her the food. At this, the police sources claim that the snacks must have been laced with sedatives and the culprit carried the girl away after she lost consciousness.
The anti-narcotics cell too is looking into the investigation of these cases as the police has received a tip-off that the culprit is a drug addict.
The police officials also claim that due to the lack of proper CCTV footage in the areas where the incidents happened, investigations into the case is talking longer time than usual. However, the police did manage to get a grab of the culprit carrying off the Dharavi victim in a CCTV footage, captured near one of the sites. But his face was not captured on camera. Senior police inspector Balasaheb Jadhav from Shivajinagar police station said, “We currently working with a sketch that we prepared with the help of the description provided by the Dharavi victim but it has not been of much help as she is too young to remember or describe the details of the accused.”
Commenting on the investigation in the recent case, an officer from the Powai police station said, on the condition of anonymity, “We are waiting for the autopsy report of the victim and will add Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code to the case.”