India rape protest
A demonstration against violence on women in India - representational image SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images

A 38-year-old Indian man, working as a tailor in New Delhi, has confessed to sexually abusing more than 500 girls in 12 years, the police claim. The father-of-five was arrested on Sunday, 15 January, for allegedly molesting two minor girls.

The suspect, Sunil Rastogi, has three daughters who are being counselled to ascertain whether they were also targeted by him. Rastogi allegedly lured young girls to deserted places promising clothes before allegedly sexually abusing them. The baffled police, who were clueless on how the suspect went undetected for several years, said the school dropout was jailed for six months in 2006 for a similar offence.

"The accused told us he used to target girls between 7 and 10. Whenever he would find any girl going home from school, he used to mislead her on the pretext that her father had sent some clothes or some other articles to give her and take her to an isolated place," alleged senior police official Omvir Singh. The police claimed he attempted to molest as many as 2,500 girls both in and outside New Delhi. Officials have mapped a pattern emerging from his alleged sexual assaults and collected CCTV footage from the area.

The alleged paedophile was apprehended by the police after a complaint that two young girls, aged 9 and 10, were briefly kidnapped and attacked. Rastogi also features in a suspected rape case, which was filed over an incident involving a girl on 13 December. The police have formed a special team of investigators in order to track all of Rastogi's victims as the vast majority of the incidents have gone unreported.