A school bus cleaner from Badlapur, arrested for raping a four-year-old girl in the bus she regularly travelled in, was remanded to nine days’ police custody on Sunday.
The accused, Sandeep Kerve, 26, has confessed to the crime, said Dilip Patil, senior police inspector, Badlapur (West) police station.
The incident was discovered more than a week after it took place as Kerve had threatened the child, who studies in the junior KG section of an English-medium school in Badlapur, against revealing what had happened.
Doctors at JJ Hospital who examined the girl on Sunday confirmed she had been raped. Most injuries have healed, they said.
The incident took place on September 6 after the child, along with her friend, went and sat in the bus parked inside the school premises, after class, around 4.30pm. The two girls were the first to board the bus, which had no woman attendant. As per the school bus policy, it is mandatory for school buses to have women attendants.
Kerve is believed to have led the four-year-old to the backseat under the pretext of showing her magic and raped her. When the girl screamed, her friend rushed to see what happened. Kerve then threatened both children.
Initially, the child did not talk about the incident, but later complained of pain to her aunt. It was only when she was taken to a doctor that the family realised she had been raped. On Friday, the parents approached the police after which a case was registered.
She is too young to help in the investigation, Patil said. “We are collecting maximum evidence. The accused does not have previous criminal record.”
In their police statement, the parents have said that the school management did not take action after being informed about the incident. The school principal has denied that the parents told him about the rape.