Playgroup franchise’s partner sexually assaults 2-year-old in Mumbai, arrested

The FIR was registered a few days later, after the toddler told her mother that the accused had touched her private parts.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2018 04:11 PM IST

A 52-year-old franchise partner of a renowned playschool chain located in Kandivli (East) has been arrested by the Samta Nagar police station for allegedly sexually assaulting a two-and-a-half-year-old student.

While the police said the accused is a trustee, a spokesperson for the playgroup said the accused is just a franchise partner who oversees one centre of the school.

The first information report (FIR) was registered on Monday, a few days after the incident allegedly took place. The incident was reported by the girl’s mother after she had told her that the accused had “touched her private parts”.

The accused was arrested under section 354 (criminal force on a woman outraging her modesty) of the IPC and sections 8 (sexual assault) and 12 (sexual harassment of the child) of the POCSO Act.

He was produced before a sessions court and has been remanded in police custody till Thursday.

Vinay Rathod, deputy commissioner of police, zone XII, said that the girl will be subjected to a medical test.

“We will seek further police custody from the honourable court,” Rathod said. He added that CCTV footage was being surveyed and that they were investigating if similar incidents had taken place in the past.

“It has come to our notice that an allegation has been made by a parent at one of our franchise, which is an extremely unfortunate incident. As a responsible and socially sensitive pre-school franchisor, our commitment towards child safety is non-negotiable and we follow a strict protocol in providing a safe learning environment for our students. Hence, we are facilitating full cooperation with the legal authorities in their investigation. As part of our stringent safety guidelines, the school premise is covered by eight CCTV cameras and recordings from these cameras are being shared with the concerned legal authorities,” said a franchise spokesperson.

This is the second such incident that has taken place in the city in recent years. In November last year, a 57-year-old founder-trustee of an international school in Andheri (East) and a teacher were arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a three-year-old.

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