The Mulund police rescued a four-year-old girl and arrested six people, including one of her relatives, for kidnapping her. The girl was to be sold to a Rajasthan-based man for Rs60,000.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the man allegedly wanted to take the minor to Rajasthan, where she was expected to work in a bar in the future.
After the girl was reported missing, the police formed two teams, which arrested Dilip Dhuriya, 22, the victim’s relative. Subsequently, Tufan Nishad, 33, and Mohammad Shehzad Shah, 33, a tempo driver were arrested.
The accused led the police to three women in Mumbra, who were in direct contact with the man, who stayed with a bar girl at Wagle Estate in Thane. The women were identified as Sangeeta Lagade, 50, Mangal Chandanshive, 26 and Mamta Raj, 21.
The accused lured the victim with a chocolate, for which Lagade paid them Rs5,000 each.
“Nishad kidnapped the girl and took her to Teen Hath Naka in Thane, from where Shah took her to Retibandar in Mumbra by tempo. She was handed over to the women,” said Rajesh Pradhan, deputy commissioner of police (zone VII).
The officials said the accused took the girl to Vartak Nagar in Thane, from where she was taken to Wagle Estate and was rescued before she could be taken to Rajasthan.
The Mulund police are trying to track down the man, who is on the run. “We will be able to find out exactly where he wanted to take the girl only after we arrest him. There is lack of clarity on whether the accused were involved in other kidnappings,” said Anil Valzade, assistant commissioner of police (Bhandup division).
Investigations have hinted at possible past incidents of minor girls being smuggled by the same group. The police have found the photograph of a juvenile in one of the accused’s phones.
The police are questioning the accused and are looking into their backgrounds. A case of kidnapping has been registered against them and they have been remanded in police custody.
Police suspect that the Rajasthan-based man would raise kidnapped girls till they turned 14, and then push them into business as bar girls. The group was instructed to kidnap girls specifically under the age of six, who could be controlled easily.