Mumbai: Twenty-nine people including two minors were booked in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl over a period of nine months.
The Manpada police in Dombivli here have arrested 26 under the Indian Penal Code as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). Search is on for the other three.
The arrested have been remanded to police custody till September 29. The minor offenders have been sent to a juvenile remand home.
"All the accused between the ages of 16 to 23 years and most of them are students," the police said.
The 15-year-old victim, who approached the police on Wednesday night, said her boyfriend recorded a video of them in an intimate act in January 2021, which he later used to blackmail her.
Her boyfriend used the video to force her into physical relations with some of his friends.
The Police is yet to obtain the video used to coerce the victim.
It was after the victim's aunt noticed that the girl was not alright and took her under her watch that the girl confided in her.
The aunt sought the help of a social worker in the area, who then suggested that a trap be laid to nab the accused red-handed.
The girl arranged another meeting. Some of the accused picked her up in an auto-rickshaw while the social worker and the victim's aunt and uncle followed them in another auto-rickshaw.
However, they lost track of them when the auto-rickshaw in which they were travelling had a punctured tyre. They then alerted the police.
The girl, meanwhile, sent her aunt her location by GPS. The police, with the help of the aunt’s mobile phone, reached the location and began looking for the room in which the girl was.
By then, the girl had been gang-raped by six men. Though many made an escape, the police were able to nab two of them. The rest were caught on Thursday.
“After learning about the crime from the girl, had the family approached the police, at least the incident of Wednesday could have been avoided,” the officer added.