Bus attendant faces molestation charges, booked under new Act

Victim, 4-yr-old schoolgirl, does not want to travel by bus any more

Mumbai police have pressed molestation charges against a 35-year-old bus attendant for allegedly sexually assaulting a three-year-old nursery student in a moving school bus Tuesday afternoon.

An eight-minute gap between the previous child and the victim being dropped home is crucial to the probe. The victim was dropped last.

Ramesh Rajput, arrested on Friday, allegedly pushed the girl to the rear seat of the 16-seater bus and then touched her inappropriately. Sections from the new and stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, have also been invoked against Ramesh.

It was reported to Juhu Police on Thursday after a paediatrician confirmed injury marks on the girl's private parts. According to First Information Report (FIR) filed by her parents in presence of school trustee Sujay Jairaj, the child was traumatised after Ramesh inserted his finger into her private parts.

On Saturday in court, Ramesh said he was in driving the bus on the day of the incident but police and school authorities refuted his claim.

"After the previous child was dropped, we have a span of 8 minutes, where the woman attendant, the cleaner and the child were in the bus," said a spokesperson from the school. The school said there was a driver was at the wheel. The girl was in the rear section of the bus when the cleaner molested the girl.

According to a school statement, woman attendant Veena Mahadik "immediately confronted the cleaner and stopped the same".

The cleaner was arrested, while the woman attendant and the driver have given their statements. The woman attendant has reportedly given conflicting versions.

In her statement to police, the girl's mother, narrating what the victim had told her, said "haan aaya thi aur usne Ramesh ko daanta jab dekha (yes she was there and she scolded Ramesh)." "This is an unfortunate incident despite the woman attendant being on the bus," added school principal S Chaterjee.

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