After ‘wrong’ arrest, police claim real culprit nabbed


In a twist to the alleged rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Vashi on Tuesday, the Navi Mumbai police on Friday claimed that Arun Pawar, who was arrested for the crime on Thursday, was innocent. The police have now arrested Dattatray Rokde (53), a resident of the same building as the victim, for the crime.

Pawar is also a resident of the same complex as the victim, and the police said his arrest was based on a cloth with red stains found in his residence.

Sources in the Navi Mumbai police confirmed that while Pawar was arrested on Thursday morning, police remained doubtful about his involvement, and hence decided to keep investigating the case.

"During further investigation, we received information about Rokde. According to our informant, he had been behaving suspiciously since the victim's body was found on Wednesday. He left for his brother's residence on Wednesday morning without explanation and returned only late at night. He had also not spoken to his family after his return. We questioned him about his movements on Tuesday and Wednesday. He ultimately confessed to the crime," said an officer with Navi Mumbai police.

"Rokde's family was out on Tuesday and he took the victim to his residence on Tuesday afternoon. He bound and gagged her and raped her. The girl was gagged for several hours, which led to her death. Rokde hid the dead body in under the ground-floor staircase of his building, and dumped it outside her residence early on Wednesday morning," said zonal DCP Purushottam Karad.

Defending Pawar's arrest, Karad said, "The victim's parents had expressed doubt about Pawar and the piece of cloth in his house further made us suspicious. Arrest was necessary for further investigation; it is not punishment. We have already released Pawar with permission from court."

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