A 25-year-old man, who allegedly masturbated in front of an American woman in Colaba area of Mumbai, has been arrested by the Colaba police on Wednesday morning.
Mumbai-based writer Maryanna Abdo had alleged that Gopal Valmiki had masturbated while looking at her when she was out walking on the street on Monday morning.
Abdo raised an alarm and a couple of passersby came to help but the man fled. Despite the shock and humiliation, she showed presence of mind and clicked a photo of the alleged culprit.
Abdo then posted the man's image on Twitter. She also shared the location and time of the incident when a Twitter user asked for details.
The tweet received more than 1,500 re-tweets prompting police to look into the matter after the chief minister’s office intervened.
“We have arrested Gopal Jagdish Valmiki, a resident of Bhid Bunder, Colaba on Wednesday 1.30am from his residence,” confirmed Mumbai police spokesperson deputy commissioner of police Dhananjay Kulkarni.
The US national later tweeted: "Just wanted to say thank you to the Colaba police for their swift action and for their professionalism and courtesy. (sic)"
A police source said that Valmiki, a graduate, who works as trainee share trader at Bombay Stock Exchange, after the arrest told police that he is married and was not masturbating in front of the US national. He was just peeing, when she looked at him, he told police. However, police are not buying his claims.
The molestation incident had taken place near Henry Road in Colaba at 7.50 am on Monday while the woman was heading to her work place. Describing her ordeal the woman had tweeted on Monday, “Please RT-this man just masturbated at me on the street in broad daylight. Ran away after a confrontation. (Sic)”. The tweet also had the photograph of the man.
The chief minister’s office was quick to respond to the tweet and assured her that joint commissioner Deven Bharti has been directed by Devendra Fadnavis to look into the matter.
Police immediately swung into action and within 36-hours Colaba police constable Pravin Bhalerap arrested the accused from his Colaba house.
Senior police inspector Vinay Gadgil of the Colaba police station said that the accused has been booked under section 509 [word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman] of the Indian Penal Code and he will be produced in the court in the afternoon.
Walmiki's advocate Sanjay Pandey moved a bail plea, pleading he has been falsely implicated. He claimed Walmiki is innocent had gone down to fetch bread, when the alleged incident took place.