BANGALORE: Police on Saturday arrested attender Gundappa for the sexual assault on three-year-old Nithya (name changed) at Orchids School in Jalahalli.
City Police Commissioner M N Reddi, announcing the breakthrough, said the victim had identified Gundappa (45) in the presence of experts. Later, she made a statement before a magistrate. “It was challenging because of the sensitivity of the case and the girl’s age. Our officials have done a thorough job,” he said.
Curiously, policemen had told reporters on Friday they had found no evidence against Gundappa. The sexual assault was reported on Tuesday, and Gundappa’s name had been doing the rounds from the very first day of the investigation.
However, keeping in mind the twists and turns the Vibgyor High case had taken, the police have been circumspect this time. At Vibgyor, where a similar crime was reported in July, police had first arrested skating instructor Mustafa. They later realised they had made a mistake and arrested two gym assistants, Lal Giri and Waseem Pasha.
While the police were questioning the staff at Orchids, the girl repeatedly referred to Gundappa as “bad uncle,” said a police source. “Considering she is a three-year-old, we did not want to make any mistakes. We did the identification in the presence of a psychologist from Nimhans who first built a rapport with her,” a senior policeman said.
He explained, “When she was pressed to repeat the identification, she told the investigators, “Arey kitni baar bathani hain, yehi hain bad uncle.” (How many times do I have to tell you this is the bad uncle?)
Gundappa has not confessed to the crime. “He claims he had never seen the girl before,” a senior policeman said.
The police are trying to collect more evidence. “Our next move is to rebuild the crime scene and find exactly where and how the incident took place,” an investigator told Express. Police know the incident took place inside the school, but are trying to understand whether it was inside the library, classroom or elsewhere on the campus.
“We know the incident took place on the day it was reported, but we want to find out when exactly it happened,” he said.
Who is Gundappa?
Gundappa is one of Orchids’ 11 male non-teaching staff and has been working at the school for two years. He is a resident of A K Colony in Jalahalli and is married and has two daughters and a son. Police said he has no previous criminal record.