The Cuffe Parade police on Thursday detained a 32-year-old man after locals beat him up and handed him over to the police claiming he had tried to abduct a three-year-old girl.
The police said the incident took place at Shiv Shakti Nagar slum area at Cuffe Parade. The locals told police they suspected the man to be behind the murders of minor girls in the past.
Residents have become alert after the abduction of Karishma Chavan, 3, and Jagruti Patel, who was three-and-a-half-years old. The bodies of the two girls were found in a secluded spot near the Nariman Point Fire Brigade Depot. While Jagruti was found murdered on November 13, last year Karishma was found dead on January 18. Though the police have yet not been able to find the accused in the case, they said the two cases appeared to be connected. Both girls had been killed brutally.
The police said it was late on Thursday evening that residents saw an unknown man talking to a child in the locality. The man, who was allegedly drunk, resembled the man suspected to be involved in the two earlier murders. "He tried to run when we approached him, so the locals grabbed him and beat him up," a resident of Shiv Shakti Nagar said.
"We found a packet of condoms in the pocket of his trousers. It has not been ascertained whether he is the man involved in the murders of Karishma and Jagruti," said a senior police officer from Cuffe Parade police station.
"We are not revealing the name of the man as his role has not been ascertained," said Iqbal Shaikh, assistant commissioner of police (Colaba division).