By Gargi Verma, Mumbai Mirror | Updated: Jan 24, 2017, 09.15 AM IST

A 40-year-old man was arrested for allegedly raping a 13-year-old minor by the Panvel police on Friday. According to the victim’s family, the man had been sexually exploiting her for over a year and had threatened the girl that if she complained to anyone, he would kill their entire family. After the girl had an emotional break-down in school, the family started to enquire about her state of mind, and the girl revealed it to the mother who lodged an FIR at the Panvel police station.

On Friday, the mother of the 13-year-old came to the police station to lodge an FIR against one of her next door neighbours. “The mother complained that the accused had been close to the family and often helped the girl with her school work. He used to take her out to get school supplies even,” explained the investigation officer API Archana Gadhve. According to her, using these outings to buy school books the accused used to take the victim to a secluded spot and raped her multiple times. “According to the victim, he had threatened her that if she told anyone, he would kill her family members. This led to severe emotional stress on the girl,” she said.

The accused, a motorbike garage owner in Panvel is married with two kids. Their family was very close to the victim’s family and this led to him coming regularly at their home. The victim’s mother also trusted him and always used to let her daughter accompany him outside. Sources claim that the accused had been raping her for over a year, and the girl had become extremely weak emotionally. “She started crying at school and home over really small issues and even stopped going to play with friends. This is when her mother got seriously worried and started to ask her what was wrong. After incessant counselling, the girl finally opened up to her mother after a week,” Gadhve said.

The accused has been booked under multiple sections of POCSO and has been sent to police custody till Friday, January 27.