Mumbai girl’s hostel guard, accused of raping and killing and 18-year-old student, reportedly climbed up a drainage pipe in a duct at the back of the building to the first floor. Investigators said that accused Om Prakash Kanojia then went in through a gap and took the stairs to the fourth floor where the victim was alone.
Kanojia, who also worked as a laundry man in the same hostel near Charni Road in south Mumbai, raped and strangled the girl inside her room on the fourth floor early Tuesday morning. The victim was a resident of Akola in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region and had come to the city to pursue computer engineering in a Bandra college.
A report in Times of India quoted investigators probing the case as saying that they believe Kanojia may have forced the latch of the girl’s room through an opening above the door as the police have found fingerprints.
The security guard had killed himself on nearby railway tracks minutes after leaving the hostel at 4.44am on Tuesday. Investigators are now trying to establish if the fingerprints belong to Kanojia.
“Prima facie, it seems the accused had climbed the drainage pipe till the first floor and walked up the stairs. His chappals were found lying near the pipe. The drainage pipeline area is near the place where Kanojia used to work as a laundryman. There was no CCTV camera,” a senior police officer was quoted.
How Many Pipes Did Kanojia Climb?
Interestingly, the report stated, Kanojia was captured by one camera trying to climb a pipe in another part of the building. However, he did not succeed and left the hostel.
It is still not clear when did Kanojia go to the fourth floor and how many hours he spent there as only six cameras were working. The TOI report stated that other cameras, including the ones on the fourth floor, were defunct.
“On this portion, all the windows have grilles installed. So it’s not clear why he was trying to climb from there,” the officer was quoted by TOI.
It is believed that before leaving the hostel, Kanojia is likely to have gone to the place where he worked and put on another pair of slippers as his body was found with footwear.
The report stated that the forensic experts have collected fingerprints from the victim’s room, her clothes, the accused’s hair, nail and his clothes for examination. The final autopsy is still awaited. While initial information stated that she was strangled using a ‘dupatta’, the interim report said she was strangulated with her own leggings.
Compensation & Reaction
According to the TOI report, the police are compiling a proposal for compensation to the victim’s family under the Manodhairya scheme, for children and women who have been victims of sexual crimes and acid attacks.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar, meanwhile, visited the Marine Drive police station on Thursday and met the victim’s family. He said there should be a thorough inquiry into how Kanojia reached the fourth floor.
Later in a tweet, he said that the social justice department of the Maharashtra government which runs the hostel had been very lax and action should be taken against the concerned officials.
The father of an 18-year-old student has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The girl’s family members visited the Marine Drive police station and demanded action against those ‘responsible’ for the incident, including a warden of the hostel.
The woman’s family members, who had initially refused to accept her body, collected it on Thursday for last rites. “Police say the accused died, but his face can not be seen (identified). Police are saying they identified the accused from a ‘kada’ (iron bangle) in his hand. Something is fishy,” he said, asking why would the accused commit suicide.