The Deonar police faced an unusual challenge when an 18-year-old rape victim could not remember any details about the incident.
But the police solved the case and arrested the accused within a few days.
The victim, a native of Allahabad, had allegedly eloped to marry her boyfriend. According to her parents’ statement, she has been suffering from short-term memory loss, since birth.
Inspector Pandurang Dhoke, the investigating officer, said: "The girl could not remember who the accused was. First we thought she was lying but after observing her for three days we realised her memory was bad. She even could not remember if she had her dinner or lunch one hour later."
The girl boarded a train from Allahabad on May 20 and got off at Kurla terminus.
She forgot where she was and why she had come there. She was wandering on the platform when Naresh Mewalal Pawar (22), a porter, spotted her.
On learning that she was alone, Pawar took her shopping. He then took her to a video parlour at Kurla where they watched a movie.
Pawar then took her to his house at Chembur Shell Colony and allegedly raped her. He confined her in the house before leaving for work the next day.
The girl escaped but again forgot where she was. She began wandering on the railway tracks but this time was spotted by members of Childline, an NGO, who took her to the police.
After medical examination, the police found she had been raped.
"We did not have any basis to start investigations as the girl didn’t even remember her name," said Dhoke.
"Actor Salman Khan helped us kickstart the investigations," said Dhoke. When the police repeatedly asked her to remember something, she said she had seen a movie in a "small theatre" and was then taken to place nearby.
When the police showed her photographs of actors to help her remember the movie, she recognised Salman Khan and the police deduced she must have watched Veer.
Only three places were showing the film and she identified a parlour in Kurla. The police then started investigating which station the victim could have met the accused.
She remembered there was a garage-like area for the trains at the station. "We then zeroed on Kurla Terminus as we learnt she was talking about the car shed. One of the porters’, the only witness, recognised the girl and told us his associate Pawar was seen with her," said Dhoke.
The police waited for Pawar to come for duty and then arrested him.
"It was a complicated case but we cracked it within days," said Senior Inspector Tukaram Bhalerao.
"Pawar has confessed. He has been booked for rape and remanded in judicial custody. The girl is back home with her parents."