The police investigating the rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malabar Hill have discovered that the taxi driver arrested in the crime had called up his acquaintance inviting him to assault the child who has a mental disability. Both were arrested after the girl’s father filed a missing person complaint. The incident came to light on September 18 when the girl’s father approached the Malabar Hill police station. He said the child had gone missing from home. Considering the seriousness of the situation we immediately began investigating the matter,” said a police officer from Malabar Hill police.
The child left her home after a fight with her family on Monday night and hailed the taxi. Following the child’s entry into the cab, the driver, Shriprakash Pandey, 28, called Salman Sunni, 26, and allegedly told him, “There is a girl sitting alone in my cab and you can take full advantage of her and the situation.” “We scanned CCTV camera footage from the area. Although the registration number of the taxi was not visible, we managed to apprehend the taxi driver,” the police officer said.
The taxi driver and his friend exploited the situation considering that the child was alone. Representation Pic
“The girl hailed the taxi and told the driver she had no money. Pandey let her board his cab. He then called Sunni and asked him to wait near Dadar. Sunni boarded the cab near Dadar and allegedly raped the girl in the moving taxi. Pandey never objected to the rape. The duo dropped the child off at Vakola,” the police officer added. Considering these facts of the case, Pandey has been accused as an active participant in the rape by the police.
At Vakola, the duo hailed an autorickshaw, handed the driver some money and told him to drop the girl at her relatives’ place in Malwani. When the child reached there, she narrated the incident to her relatives. “Pandey continued driving while Sunni raped the child in the backseat. Pandey was apprehended from his residence in Dadar and based on his statement, Sunni, too, was arrested from Dadar,” another police officer from Malabar Hill police said.
The duo are friends and have no criminal record. Sunni works at a lodge. Both have been accused of rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code along with the relevant sections of the POCSO Act. They are in police custody till September 25. The police are probing the case further.
‘Want strict action’
The child’s family has demanded strict action against both the accused. A family member told mid-day, “The child is traumatised. She already has a mental illness. This incident has impacted her severely. When the driver Pandey was questioned, he initially acted cool and said ‘Aapko aapki beti jald he mil jayegi’. Later, it was revealed that he was just bluffing.”
“The child screamed and asked Pandey for help but he turned a deaf ear. He did not care and continued to drive. The duo thought she would not utter a word. However, the child said everything to our relative and gave a statement to the police,” the family member added. “We demand strict action against the driver as he is equally involved in this matter. The duo should be punished according to the law. We thank the Malabar Hill police for their timely assistance; they have been very cooperative,” the family member added.