The future of the 14-year-old girl may depend on the condition of the two-year-old toddler whom she assaulted out of sheer frustration after being 'forcibly' given her custody by her taxi driver partner, police said.
Investigators said they would 'strictly adhere' to the Juvenile Justice Act and seek legal opinion about their course of action if the infant, whose life continues to hang in balance in the ICU, succumbs to her injuries.
"As per her statement, the 14-year-old girl, who happens to be a victim of repeated sexual assault herself, has admitted to having physically assaulted the infant out of frustration and not by design or deliberately," said a senior police officer.
"In the event that the child doesn't survive, the 14-year-old can legally be apprehended for culpable homicide not amounting to murder," police said. On January 31, Hindustan Times had reported how the battered two-year-old child, who is currently dependent on plastic tubes for each consecutive breath she takes at AIIMS, had become the object of her 14-year-old custodian's ire over just five days.
It was between the grim, five-day period following Rajkumar's departure to Mumbai and the day she decided to admit her to a hospital, that her custodian assaulted the two-year-old out of frustration, loneliness and, ironically, an alleged sense of abandonment.
"Rajkumar had left her in charge of the infant before leaving for Mumbai on January 13. Two days later, she had inadvertently injured the child after dropping her in the bathroom. Till January 18, the baby was terribly injured," the officer said.
While the police, too, are hoping that the baby survives, her death will make them legally bound to apprehend the 14-year-old for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which attracts imprisonment as well as a fine.
After finally getting their hands on Rajkumar on Saturday, sources said the police were waiting and watching the toddler's condition with bated breath but were, at the moment, only focussing on nabbing other peripheral suspects in the case.
Chhaya Sharma, DCP (south), said the police could seek legal opinion from the Juvenile Justice Board and the Child Welfare Committee but refused to comment further.