A former banker, who had supposedly taken to social work and organising religious ceremonies, was arrested for molesting a 17-year-old girl in Virar after getting her drunk on several occasions.
The accused, a senior citizen, had been staying with the girl since June last year.
A probe by the Charkop police revealed that the girl’s aunt is a follower of the arrested accused Anil Bharate, 67, and lived in the same residential complex in Virar as him.
The minor, a resident of Kandivli, used to attend Bharate’s religious events with her aunt. When she got into a Virar-based college in June last year, Bharate offered to let her stay in his flat.
In her complaint to the police, the girl said Bharate forced her to drink alcohol insisting it would improve her health. She also said he had initially provided her with a separate bedroom, but lately, he had begun sharing her bed.
He would molest her while she was asleep, said police.
When the girl came to her Kandivli home during the Christmas holidays, she narrated the incidents to her mother. A case was then registered at the Charkop police station and Bharate was arrested.
“A former manager at a bank, Bharate claims to be a social worker and participates in religious events. He brought three other girls with him from Latur and Nagpur, his hometown and would pay for their education. But when questioned, the three girls, who are also around the same age as the complainant, denied any misbehaviour by Bharate,” said Aanand Koli, senior inspector at Charkop police station.
The police learnt that his two married daughters reside in Europe and send him money, which he would supposedly spend on the girls’ educations. The girls come from financially poor families, the police said.
Bharate has been remanded to judicial custody.