A 23-year-old Afghan national was sexually assaulted by an employee of the Max City hospital within the premises while she was asleep next to her mother who had been admitted for treatment. The accused, a contractual employee according to Max Healthcare, was arrested and sent to judicial custody, police said.
The incident was reported from south Delhi’s Saket area on July 24. In her complaint, the woman said she was sleeping on a couch next to her mother’s bed in the ward when the accused — identified as 19-year-old Amar Singh — who worked in the housekeeping department forced himself on her and tried to touch her private parts.
The victim’s statement said she went to sleep around 4am after a woman attendant advised her to rest as she had been up all night.
The woman said she woke up around 5am and saw the accused touching her inappropriately.
“The woman raised an alarm and her sister sleeping next to her woke up. The two women tried to overpower him but he pushed them and tried to flee. The guards at the hospital, however, overpowered the man and called the police. He was arrested on the spot,” a police officer said.
“While trying to catch hold of the man, the woman slipped and fell, breaking four of her teeth and sustaining minor bruises,” the officer added.
The victim had come to the city from Kabul with her brother, sister-in-law and sister on July 18 to get her mother treated for asthma. She was staying at a guesthouse in Jangpura.
The police have registered a case under sections 376C (rape by any member of the management or staff of a hospital with any woman in that hospital) and 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) against the employee, police said. Investigating officers said they had to take the help of a translator to record her statement.
Under the new rape law enacted after the December 2012 gang-rape, section 376C of the IPC calls for rigorous imprisonment for a term that shall not be less than five years but which may extend to 10 years. Earlier, the maximum punishment for such a crime was five years.
During questioning, Singh denied the charges but kept changing his statement, police said. “He gave a statement saying he had gone to the room to change the bedsheets. He said the woman turned while he was changing the sheets and started shouting thinking he was trying to molest her. We are verifying all claims. Singh is changing his statement constantly.,” an officer said.
In a statement, authorities at Max Healthcare said the accused had been dismissed from services and the victim had returned to Kabul. “We follow a zero tolerance policy on any sexual misconduct incident with our employees or patients and their families. We have a comprehensive induction policy for our on-rolls and contractual employees. We also train our employees on compassion and correct conduct. We are highly disturbed about this condemnable incident in the hospital by a contractual employee. He was immediately handed over to the police and terminated by his employer on our instruction. We actively worked and supported the police in their investigation. The victim was admitted to the hospital and provided all medical help to overcome the trauma. The victim along with other family members have since left for Afghanistan,” the statement said.