Mumbai, Dec. 27: A 30-year-old thief who broke into a third-floor flat last year and raped a Spanish musician thrice at knifepoint received a life term today, thanks to some fast sleuthing by police and a trial quick by Indian standards.
A seasoned burglar, Mohammed Badsha alias Mohammad Ansari knew all the tricks in the book to evade capture or conviction — or to secure speedy bail if arrested. He had seemed almost nonchalantly confident while committing the crime on November 5, 2012. (See chart)
Today, he wept bitterly in the sessions court and sought leniency, citing his mother and 17-year-old wife, whom he had married days before the crime.
Ansari had been dodging justice for over 12 years, expertly using legal loopholes to secure bail. Arrested for allegedly stealing booty worth Rs 12 lakh from actor-turned-restaurateur Dino Morea’s flat on October 27 last year, he walked out on bail three days later to get married.
“He would immediately own his crimes and return the loot so that he would be sent to judicial custody, from where he secured bail,” said deputy commissioner Pratap Digvekar, who handled the rape case.
Besides, each time he was caught, Ansari learnt from the mistake that led to his capture and never repeated it. On November 5, too, he had tried to wipe out all the evidence.
Digvekar explained how Ansari’s plans went awry. “He was on our initial list of suspects as he was a known thief,” said the cop, whose team made seven arrests the day of the crime.
“The incident happened on a Saturday night. Our informers said they had seen Ansari in Bandra hours before the crime. On Sunday night, he had still not returned home.”
The victim had told the police the rapist wore a purple shirt, with a tear on the right shoulder, and blue jeans. The cops found the clothes at Ansari’s home. Still, when the victim was shown Ansari’s sketch, she wasn’t fully sure.
When he was arrested two days after the crime, Ansari broke with his habit of owning up “despite learning he would be sent to judicial custody first, as the identification parade had to be carried out before the victim left the country”, Digvekar said. Ansari probably realised he had gone too far this time.
The woman identified him during a parade at Arthur Road jail on November 16.
“Her medical examination confirmed rape. Despite Ansari’s best attempts to clean up after the crime, forensic evidence on the woman’s clothes, his hair collected from the scene, and other evidence in the flat nailed him,” Digvekar said.
All the stolen goods — including the victim’s nightdress, stuffed into one of Ansari’s trouser pockets —were found.
Ansari has been convicted of rape, unnatural sex, trespass, robbery and criminal intimidation.
The victim had been in Mumbai for five years, working with local musicians and bands, and had rented the apartment in June 2012. “She repeatedly told the police and lawyers that all she wanted was justice,” public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.