Mumbai Crime: 'Baba' held for sexually assaulting 17-year-old

A day after an FIR was registered against a self-proclaimed baba for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl, crime branch officials arrested him from Powai late last night. According to sources, a team from Unit 10 of the crime branch received a tip-off that the alleged accused, Nagesh Bhandari, 40, was coming to Powai to meet a friend. The team then laid a trap and nabbed him.

Accused Nagesh Bhandari

On Monday, the Powai police had registered an FIR against Bhandari, following the complaint of a woman, who alleged that he had sexually assaulted her 17-year-old daughter. The complainant had told the police that the accused, on the pretext of performing pujas, invited the girl to his house and would sexually assault her.

The complainant said she knew Bhandari, originally from Karnataka, since 2012. He introduced himself as a 'baba' with special powers. She then started visiting him in the hope that Bhandari would heal her daughter, who is a slow learner.

The woman first became suspicious of Bhandari, when he visited her home in August this year. On seeing him, her daughter told her that he wasn't a good man and that he should not be allowed in the house.

When she questioned the daughter, she broke down and told her that Bhandari had forced himself on her several times. He even threatened her saying that if she spilled the beans on him, he would kill her family.

The complainant then asked him to stay away, but Bhandari started threatening her too. Sources said that Bhandari even followed the younger sister of the victim to her school and touched her inappropriately.

The Powai Police have registered a case under sections of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The crime branch is conducting a parallel investigation. "Once the paperwork of the accused is processed, we will transfer the case to the crime branch,” a police official said.

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