Thane, Aug 10 (UNI) A local court here has awarded ten years rigorous imprisonment to a 35-year-old school van driver on charges of molesting and raping two minor girls besides fining him Rs 28,000.
The accused, Tulshiram Manere operates a private van to ferry children to schools in the power loom town of Bhiwandi.
Additional Public Prosecutor Ujjwala Moholkar said the judge has ordered the District Legal Services Authority to pay compensation to the two victims aged 8 and 9.
In her submission, the APP told the court that the accused used to ferry the school students in his van on a daily basis.
On Saturdays, the school timings were different and taking advantage of it, the accused used to take the girls to an isolated place and sexually assault them. He had put dark glasses on the van window to avoid being noticed, the court was told.
The assault took place on several Saturdays between June and December 2016 after which he also threatened them with dire consequences if they revealed anything.
Petrified of the frequent sexual harassment, the girls kept mum but refused to attend the school on Saturdays.
When the teacher questioned them, they broke down and revealed all.
The teacher then took the victims to the police at Nizampura police station and lodged a complaint following which the accused was arrested and tried.
After hearing the arguments, the counsels held the hearing through video conferencing when the accused was produced from the jail through video and convicted him on Friday.
In his order, the judge who took a serious view of the heinous crime against the school children by the accused said that the prosecution had proved the charges under sections 376(n),323,354, and 506 of the IPC and also various sections of the POCSO Act of 2012 beyond reasonable doubts for which the accused needs to be convicted.