Girl raped, murdered by close relative; accused held

Nashik: An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped and strangled to death by her close relative in Maledumala village in Dindori taluka in the district, a police officer said today.

The incident took place yesterday afternoon and the accused, identified as Vilas Mahale (30), was arrested at Borgaon village on Nashik-Surat road last night, police said.

“One of the family members of the girl had asked the girl to bring tobacco pouch from a nearby shop yesterday afternoon. When she stepped out and started walking towards the shop, Mahale, who resides near her house, also asked the girl to bring some tobacco for him,” Inspector of Vani police station Anant Targe said.

“After visiting the shop, when the girl went to hand over the tobacco pouch to Mahale, the accused pulled her inside his house and sexually assaulted her. Thereafter, he strangled the girl to death using an aluminum cable,” the officer said.

As the girl did not return home for a long time, her family members launched a search for her.

“They enquired with the shopkeeper, who told them that she went towards home after buying tobacco from his shop.

However, when her kin found Mahale’s house locked, they grew suspicious. With the help of villagers, they broke open the door of his house and were shocked to find the girl lying motionless on the floor,” Targe said.

Her parents then lodged a complaint with the police and the girl’s body was sent to a government-run hospital for post-mortem.

The police launched a search for the accused, who had left the village after the alleged crime. However, based on the call data records, police tracked him down at Borgaon village on Nashik-Surat road later in the evening and arrested him.

The family member of the victim, protested outside Vani police station demanding that the accused be handed over to them. However, they left the place when police assured action against him.

“Mahale was booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder) and also under sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act,” Targe said.

The accused was produced before a court in Nashik today, police said.