The Mumbai police’s crime branch finally arrested the fifth accused in the gang-rape of the 19-year-old call centre employee at Shakti Mill from Girgaum Chowpatty on Saturday.
Ashfaque Shaikh, who had been on the run ever since the survivor approached the police, was arrested with the help of his girlfriend.
Shaikh had fled the city soon after the incident and had gone to his girlfriend’s residence in Andhra Pradesh. Based on a tip-off, a police team reached Hyderabad, but Shaikh had fled from there.
Police found that he had gone to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Ajmer. While on the run, he had called his brother-in-law and claimed he was willing to surrender, but did not show up.
“Shaikh had kept his cell phone switched off, which was a major hindrance as there was no way of tracking him, especially since he was travelling all over the country,” said an officer from the crime branch.
From Ajmer he travelled to Baroda, before arriving in Mumbai on Saturday. An officer privy to the investigation said they had kept a tab on his girlfriend whom Shaikh called frequently, but he managed to give them a slip every time they reached the spot from where he had called.
“He stayed in Baroda for a few days, where he got a daily wage job, and was paid Rs200 a day. However, he wanted more money and called his girlfriend, who, on instructions from the police, told him to come to the city and meet her at chowpatty, from where he was arrested,” the officer said.
With Shaikh’s arrest, all the accused in the second Shakti Mill gang-rape case are behind bars. He will be produced before the holiday court on Sunday, where the police will seek his custody.
His questioning will help police get more clarity on the sequence of events that led to the crime.