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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Rescued domestic help's employer sent to judicial custody

PTI  New Delhi, October 02, 2013
First Published: 16:24 IST(2/10/2013) | Last Updated: 17:55 IST(2/10/2013)

A 50-year-old woman, arrested for allegedly assaulting and illegally confining a girl working as a maid in her house, was on Wednesday remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a Delhi court after police said she was not needed for further custodial interrogation.

The accused Vandana Dhir, was produced before additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM), Sudesh Kumar after expiry of one day police custody and her counsel claimed in the court that the alleged victim was mentally unstable.

The court remanded her to judicial custody till October 15.

Dhir's counsel told the court that injury marks were there on the girl's body since she started working as a maid in her house and his client was continuously giving her medical treatment for it.

"Kindly see the medical report and see the opinion of the doctor who was treating the girl earlier. She is mentally unstable... The placement agency had said that she hails from a tribal area and injuries were there on her body earlier also. She was working as a maid in my house since June and I am providing her medical treatment from August onwards," Dhir's counsel said.

The police, however, opposed her lawyer's claim and said there were grievous injury marks on the girl's body, including a deep cut mark on her head and the victim had herself stated to the police that she was confined in the house and beaten continuously.

The court inquired from the police regarding the age of the victim and the investigating officer (IO) said according to the doctors, she is aged between 18-20 years but an ossification test will ascertain her actual age. The test would be conducted on Thursday.

The IO also said they had recovered slip of the placement agency, from where she was hired as a maid, and its address and other facts are to be verified.

The victim, a resident of Jharkhand, was rescued from Dhir's Vasant Kunj home where she had been working as a domestic help. She was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital with severe injuries following the rescue.

The girl was badly injured and rescued by a joint team of NGO Shakti Vahini and Delhi Police from the ground floor of Dhir's residence on the evening of September 30.

During the day's proceedings, the NGO's president Ravikant told the court that the victim had several cut marks on her body and the court should go through her medical records, which clearly establish that she was brutally beaten up and tortured by the accused.

The defence counsel opposed Ravikant's submissions, saying he does not have any locus standi to address the arguments before court.

"The medical record says she has multiple injuries. These injuries cannot be inflicted by falling in the bathroom. They seem to be serious," the ACMM observed during the hearing.

When the magistrate asked the police about the girl's statement, the police said the victim has alleged that she was assaulted and beaten up continuously by the accused and the medical record reflects this.

After Dhir was sent to judicial custody till October 15, her lawyer moved the accused's bail application and the court fixed it for hearing on Thursday before the concerned magistrate.

Dhir was arrested yesterday after police filed a case under various sections of the IPC and under the provisions of the Bonded Labour Act.

The girl had reportedly told police that she had been working with her employers for the past one year without getting any renumeration and they used to beat her up almost every day, apparently unhappy with her work.


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