In Focus

Cuffe Parade Senior PI, team feted for 'swift action' in 'transgender' arrest

By A Draft Colaba Correspondent

On 28 July 2021, in a modest ceremony held at Prerna Hall near Azad Maidan Police Station in South Mumbai, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Vishwas Nangre Patil felicitated police personnel from Zone 1, Zone 2 and the Port Zone for exemplary work. The recipients included 14 personnel from Cuffe Parade Police Station who had investigated the 'rape' and murder of a three-month-old girl from Cuffe Parade's Ambedkar Nagar area that sent shock-waves across the zone.

TEAMWORK: PN Prakash Jadhav, HC Vasant Mahale, PSI Dinkar Ilag, PSI Vikram Takmoghe, PSI Tousif Mulla, API Vishal Gaikwad,
API Vikas Patil, PI and Investigating Officer Vikas Mhamunkar, HC Abbasaheb Suryawanshi,
PN Kishor Rathod and PN Vinayak Bhalerao (From left)

Of the 14 members awarded, 12 were physically present at the ceremony. The personnel who were present and felicitated for solving the crime included Senior Inspector Rajkumar Dongre, PI and investigating officer Vikas Mhamunkar, PN Prakash Jadhav, HC Vasant Mahale, PSI Dinkar Ilag, PSI Vikram Takmoghe, PSI Tousif Mulla, API Vishal Gaikwad, API Vikas Patil, HC Abbasaheb Suryawanshi, PN Kishor Rathod and PN Vinayak Bhalerao.

It was the team's thorough investigation and swift action that ensured the 'two accused were tracked and nabbed within 12 hours of the incident.'

In the wee hours of 9 July 2021, the newborn was kidnapped and murdered allegedly by a transgender, known to the family, upset over being refused a bakshish. She committed the offence along with her accomplice. The accused was arrested in the morning by the local police after the victim's grandmother revealed how the accused had visited the family at Ambedkar Nagar the previous night to demand bakshish for the child's birth and got angry when turned down (Click here to read The Draft Colaba's news report).

Till the time of this report being published, both the accused were in judicial custody. Preliminary medical report of the victim also revealed 'injury to the genitals,' due to which sections of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) and Rape were clubbed with murder charges.

A case (C.R. No. 293/21) was registered by the Cuffe Parade Police personnel under IPC Sections 302 (punishment for murder), 376 DB (punishment for gang rape on woman under twelve years of age), 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) r/w Sections 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault), 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault), 8 (punishment for sexual assault), 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.

"It was a real challenge to keep the crowd under control that was getting more and more agitated after the incident. We had to ensure that law and order was maintained in the area, and that was a tough ask," says Cuffe Parade Police Station Senior Inspector Rajkumar Dongre.

FELICITATED: Senior PI Rajkumar Dongre (left) felicitated by Jt CP (L&O) Vishwas Patil
Investigating Officer PI Vikas Mhamunkar says, "We explained to the locals that they can trust the police who will make an arrest soon and we did, within hours of the crime. We also assured the relatives who were visiting us regularly for updates in the investigation."
Recalling the tense period, Mr Mhamunkar says, "It was a problematic situation as we weren't sure who took the infant and why. The perpetrator could have taken the child for beggary. We immediately sent teams to the nearby railway stations too. But after gathering all the information from the family, we found the accused and arrested him. Earlier in 2011-12, a series of similar incidents had occurred so the locals were worried about a repeat. But, once we made the arrests, things began to settle down."

The police personnel felicitated by the department feel elated and are motivated even further to pursue their duties. "It's very encouraging for the entire team that their work is being acknowledged and staff duly rewarded," offered a member.

Jt CP (L&O) Vishwas Nangre Patil congratulated the team members for "the good work and swift detection." Investigating officer Mhamunkar offered, "Such an incident where a three-month-old baby is kidnapped and murdered, probably even raped, is very disturbing and affects the entire society. We're policemen but humans first and can understand how the family must be feeling."

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