One of the three eve-teasers — who allegedly tormented a 15-year-old girl in Jamshedpur, spurring her to make a suicide attempt on December 11 — was arrested late on Thursday.
The prompt police action may be seen as a ripple effect of the Delhi gang rape that has earned national opprobrium and triggered a tizzy to ensure safety of women in the state and country.
Mohammed Imtiaz (19) was picked up from near his Road No. 3 house in Bhalubasa, Sitaramdera, on charges of molestation around 10pm on Thursday. He has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
The key accused, however, pleaded not guilty in front of mediapersons on Friday and claimed that it was the girl who was mounting pressure on him to marry her.
Speaking at Sakchi police station, Imtiaz conceded that he had an affair with the girl, but later called off the relationship, which angered her.
He also claimed he was alone at Aambagan in Sakchi — the spot where the minor girl had alleged that she had been accosted by Imtiaz and two of his bike-borne friends — and was not on a two-wheeler.
“She stays in my neighbourhood and had been pressuring me for two years to marry her. When I refused, she started going around with another youth. That morning (December 11), she was with her boyfriend when I bumped into her. When she saw me, she came up to me to call it a truce but I told her that I would tell everything to her father. She started heading towards the bridge,” the accused said, adding that fear of being reprimanded by her family must have prompted the girl to try to end her life by jumping off Mango bridge.
DSP (city) K.N. Chowdhury confirmed there was an affair between the two. “But, we have to see whether Imtiaz had molested her with his friends. We are also trying to ascertain the circumstances that led her to Mango bridge,” he said.