Three siblings — a 12-year-old girl and her 10- and seven-year-old brothers — were drugged, raped and forced to indulge in incest repeatedly by the man entrusted by their widowed mother to keep them safe — their school cab driver.
Lalit Ratawal (38) and five of his associates had been raping and sodomizing the children for 18 months in central Delhi’s Prasad Nagar. They also filmed the act and threatened the children into silence. Four of the associates are teens, including a Class 9 student of the same school the siblings attended.
The mother, who keeps tenants to make a living, made the discovery 25 days ago when she noticed injection marks on her daughter’s arms. “There were round, black marks. When I asked her where they came from, she told me everything. She said she was afraid the driver would hurt me,” she said.
When the mother confronted Ratawal, he threatened to kill her. On Thursday, she told one of her tenants, who told a neighbour, and the neighbour in turn informed the police. The police took more than 24 hours to register a case.
“The family’s tenant approached me last evening. I rushed to Prasad Nagar Police Station and met the SHO but was told the case would be registered only after I brought the children there next morning,” the neighbour said on Friday.
According to the police, Ratawal would pick the children up from their house and take them to the house of the Class 9 student, whose parents are both teachers and hence, seldom home at that time of the day. His associates would be waiting for him there. On occasion, Ratawal would take the children — studying in classes VII, V and III — to his home when his own two children and wife were away.
“They’d inject the siblings with sedatives or force them to swallow pills. They would then push them to have sex with each other before raping them. Sometimes, the children were also forced to snort smack,” an investigating officer said.
The police said Ratawal was so organised, he would not abuse all three children on the same day. He spaced out the heinous acts so their mother and teachers would not be alerted by prolonged absences from school.
“Ratawal has been arrested on charges of raping the girl child and further investigation is underway,” said Jaspal Singh, DCP (central).