An isolated area shrouded in bushes seemed a perfect cover for Mahadev Gounder, 45, who was arrested on Wednesday for trying to sexually assault a 23-year-old student, to carry out the crime. However, three alert constables foiled his plan and caught him red-handed when the woman’s screams led them to the spot.
The incident took place around 6pm in Chembur, when Gounder, a BMC contract labourer, approached the woman, who was on her way back from college, covered her mouth with his hand, and dragged her into the bushes. He then allegedly tried to rape the woman but she fought back, hitting him with her mobile phone, and screamed for help, which alerted the cops.
“I heard the woman’s screams and followed the sound. I caught Gounder trying to assault the woman. When I hit him with a baton, he jumped into a nearby nullah in an attempt to escape,” said Sanjeevan Khamkar, who, along with his colleagues Vilas Darekar and Balasahen Walunj, caught the accused. The accused hid in the nullah for half an hour, before the police pulled him out with help of fire brigade officers
The woman, who is a Master of Arts (MA) student and the daughter of a government official, was heading home from college when the incident took place. “There are strangulation marks on her neck,” said Vilas Shinde, inspector, Nehru Nagar police.
The police are awaiting the accused’s DNA reports to check if he was involved in the undetected rapes and murders of two minors in Nehru Nagar in 2010.
Commissioner of police Rakesh Maria met Khamkar, Walunj and Darekar on Friday and credited their alertness.
Gounder has been booked under IPC sections 307 [attempt to murder] and 354B [assault or use of criminal force with the intent to disrobe].