A 17-year-old college student was allegedly molested by a taxi driver in south Mumbai on Saturday. The Colaba police have booked the driver under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.
The girl is the daughter of a businessman and studies in a popular college in south Mumbai, the police said. In her complaint, the girl said she had taken a bus from her home to CST, from where she hailed a taxi to go to college around 1pm.
“The girl said she was sitting in the back seat and the driver [name withheld] kept trying to pick up a conversation with her. After a few minutes, he allegedly stretched his hand behind and touched her inappropriately,” said a sub-inspector at the Colaba police station.
Scared, the teenager asked the driver to sit straight and drive carefully. As he continued to misbehave, she demanded that he stop the vehicle. But the driver instead started to speed, the police said.
He allegedly took a long route and kept circling around the area.
In her complaint, the girl said the driver first went to Regal Cinema and from there took a U-turn. “The teenager then came up with an idea. She said she did not have change to pay the fare. Finally, when the cabbie stopped near her college, the girl got out on the pretext of getting money. She then informed her friends who caught the driver and brought him to the police station,” said another officer requesting anonymity.
The police said the taxi driver was asking the girl for her mobile number, and allegedly asked her to go to a hotel room with him. However, during questioning, the taxi driver, a Mazagaon resident, claimed the girl was sitting in the front seat. “He said his hand accidently brushed her leg while he was changing the gear. We are collecting evidence in the case,” an inspector said. Initially, the girl and her father were reluctant to lodge a case, but later agreed to file an FIR.
The driver has been booked under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of IPC and section 12 (sexual harassment upon a child) of the POCSO Act.