Mumbai gangrape accused Qasim Sheikh was a police informer

GangrapeQasim Sheikh (face covered) being produced in court Sunday Ganesh Shirsekar

Mohammed Qasim Sheikh alias Bangali, said to be the main accused in the photojournalist's gangrape last week, was a regular police informer. Call data records of Qasim's mobile phone have shown over 50 calls between him and a constable with the Agripada police in the past one month alone, Mumbai Police sources said.

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Qasim was arrested from the terrace of Nair Hospital in central Mumbai in the early hours of Sunday. Police realised he was an informer while running background checks on him before and after the arrest.

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"We were analysing Qasim's CDRs while trying to trace him, and were going through the contacts he has had the most number of conversations with over the past few months to get an idea of his close friends. A number that figured nearly 60 times in the CDRs of the last one month belongs to a constable with the Agripada police. We made further inquiries after his arrest and learned that he was an informant," a Crime Branch officer said.

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The same constable had, on the day after the crime, rung up Qasim on his mobile phone and asked him to meet for some "personal work". Qasim, however, got suspicious and went into hiding. "It was Qasim that Vijay Jadhav and Salim Ansari called first after identifying the photojournalist and her friend as easy targets.

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The trio had decided that Qasim would pose as the 'boss' whom the photojournalist would have to meet if she wanted to take pictures in the Shakti Mills compound," said an officer. "It was Qasim who spun the yarn about a murder in the area, and accused the woman's colleague of being involved," the officer added.

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