Police have arrested a man for molesting a three-year-old girl in Malad, Mumbai.
The accused was identified as Sandeep Mandale, a 24-year-old who had failed to qualify to the police force and was hired to clean the bus that ferried the victim to and from her playschool.
A case was registered against Mandale on the basis of a complaint filed by the victim's family.
A police officer said, "Last week, the victim's parents suspected something amiss when they found her kissing them back in an unusual manner-like an adult. They gently inquired where she had learned to do so, and she replied 'bus uncle'," reported The Times of India.
The girl had complained of pain even though a medical examination ruled out that she might have been raped. The police are in a fix since the process of interrogation is reserved owing to the minor's age.
Authorities have held both the male and female attendants of the school bus for questioning. "The female attendant told us that nothing untoward had happened in her presence. She denied knowledge of any instance of molestation," said a police officer.
Mandale was said to have undergone medical tests and has admitted to kissing the victim on one occasion. The police are investigating whether the accused had tried to abuse other children.
The accused is booked under sections 354 (outraging modesty of a woman), 509 (intent to insult modesty of woman) and from the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; sections 4, 8 and 12 dealing with penetrative sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Shocked by the incident, school authorities said, "We hope the law takes a serious view of this offence and announces a severe punishment which matches the abject shame of the act itself. Child transport is becoming as much an everyday horror for schools as it is for parents."
A similar incident came to light in January, when a bus conductor was arrested for molesting a four-year-old girl in Juhu.