Mumbai: A 34-year-old suspected serial child rapist and molester arrested last month has been found to be allegedly involved in the rape and murder of two minor girls in 2010 here, a police official said.
The Navi Mumbai police cracked the eight-year-old cases with the help of DNA evidence that linked the alleged serial rapist, Rehan Abdul Qureshi, to the twin crimes that took place in Mumbai’s suburb of Nehru Nagar, he said.
Qureshi was arrested from Mira Road in adjoining Thane district by the Navi Mumbai police. DNA samples of Qureshi matched with the samples taken from the bodies of the two victims, the official said.
As many as 950 DNA samples were tested before Qureshi’s samples matched with those of the victims, Tushar Doshi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Navi Mumbai, said. This may be the first time in Maharashtra that a pending rape and murder case was solved with the help of DNA database of criminals created by the government, he said.
Qureshi is the accused in at least nine cases in Navi Mumbai, three in Palghar, two in Thane rural, one in Thane and five cases in Mumbai. While 18 of the cases are since 2015 and of sexual assault upon minor girls, the two rape and murder cases are from 2010, in Mumbai.
Qureshi has admitted to his role in the year 2010 rape and murder of two minor girls in Nehru Nagar, he said. Between February and June 2010, Mumbai was rocked by three cases of rape and murder of minor girls, who were in the 5 to 9 age group.
Among the three cases, one was detected with the arrest of an accused, Javed Khan. The other two remained unsolved till Qureshi’s arrest and interrogation, Doshi said.
The Navi Mumbai police had formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe all pending cases of sexual assault on minor girls under their jurisdiction.
During investigations, it came to light that before Mira Road, Qureshi had lived in Kurla of which Nehru Nagar is a part. Interrogation of Qureshi based on this information helped in cracking the two rape and murder cases, he said.
Crime Branch officials had asked the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Kalina in suburban Santacruz to test the DNA samples of Qureshi with samples of the victims of the pending rape or murder cases in Mumbai and adjoining areas, the official said.
The FSL recently submitted a report to the Navi Mumbai police in which it said Qureshi’s DNA samples matched with the preserved DNA samples of the two minor girls, Doshi said.
The Navi Mumbai police are now investigating Qureshi’s possible involvement in all the undetected sexual assault cases of minor girls since 2005 in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Palghar districts, the official said.