A three-year-old girl was allegedly raped before being murdered by an 18-year-old man in Goregaon late Friday evening.
According to the police, when the child started crying for help, the accused allegedly smashed her head with a stone. She died in hospital the next day (Saturday).
The incident took place around 7.30pm on Friday when the victim along with her five- year-old sister were standing near the Goregaon flyover on the Western Express Highway watching the Ganesh immersion processions passing by.
There was a crowd of onlookers and in the melee, the two sisters got separated.
"The elder girl assumed her sister had gone home and did not try looking for her," said inspector Dhanaji Nalawade from Vanrai police station.
On reaching home, when the elder girl did not find her sister around, she began to panic. She told her parents about the incident following which they started looking for the three-year-old.
When they could not find her till around 8.30pm, they panicked and informed two police constables who had been deployed for the immersion procession.
The policemen along with the parents started looking for the girl.
On questioning a few people, the policemen were informed about a youngster who was seen walking with a small girl under the flyover.
"Our constables searched under the flyover and found the girl lying unconscious there. She was bleeding from wounds to her head," Nalawade said.
The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The constables, meanwhile, detained a man whom locals identified as the person who was last seen with the girl.
The police interrogated the suspect who later confessed to having raped and attempting to kill the child. The accused was identified as Babloo Gupta, 18, who lives with his maternal uncle in Goregaon.
Gupta allegedly told the police that he lured the child saying he would take her for a closer look at the idols.
He instead took her under the flyover and allegedly raped her in the space between two parked trucks.
"When she started shouting for help, he crushed her head with a stone and left her," Nalawade said.
Babloo has been arrested on charges of rape, murder and abduction.