For two years, officers of the Mumbai police (zone IX) have been travelling all over the country with a copy of Hindustan Times dated January 1, 2008.
They are still trying to trace the main accused (circled in the photograph) in the Juhu molestation case.
Two girls were allegedly molested by a mob on Juhu Tara Road on New Year’s Eve, two years ago, after they came out of a party at a plush hotel.
Hindustan Times photographers who witnessed the incident helped the girls and captured the accused on their cameras. Based on the photos, police arrested 14 men but the main accused is still absconding.
The accused were residents of Vile Parle and were members of the Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal. One of them died later in an accident after he fell off a Virar-bound local on April 11 last year.
The police filed a charge sheet in the case in April 2008. The case is now in court.
“The photo published in Hindustan Times is all we have to identify the main accused. We have not stopped looking for the man,” said KMM Prasanna, deputy commissioner of police (zone IX).
The police have no clues as the victims — Indians who lived in America — did not cooperate and left the country after the incident.
“The accused could be anywhere in the country. We visited his village too after getting a tip-off, but did not find him there. We will not give up the search for the man in red,” said Prasanna.
Sattish Bate, Hindustan Times photographer who is one of the complainants in the case, said: “We recorded our statements with the police but haven’t heard from the police since. We have not even been summoned by the court.”