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The helping hand that also strikes

delhi Updated: Jan 11, 2010 23:16 IST
Jatin Anand
Jatin Anand
Hindustan Times
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On January 8, a senior citizen couple living in Lajpat Nagar Part III in Southeast Delhi were drugged, mercilessly beaten and robbed, allegedly by a domestic help whom they had hired four days ago.

Just hours after their family allegedly left R.K Katyal (80) and his wife, Shakuntala (74) alone with their new domestic help, Mithun Das (22) for the first time, Katyal was found sedated on his living room sofa, while Shakuntala lay in a pool of her own blood a few steps away, police said.

Three days after the incident, the couple is still recuperating in a hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward, and Das is allegedly absconding.

The case of the Katyals is part of a disturbing, but by no means new, trend: that of the helping hand, which strikes.

On November 23 last year, Delhi police arrested two housemaids and their associate for stealing cash and jewellery worth over Rs nine lakh from their employer's home at Ashok Vihar in Northwest Delhi.

September 7 saw the arrest of a 23-year-old domestic help from West Bengal, who had allegedly looted articles, including a rare 18th century 'one rupee coin', from a senior Supreme Court lawyer's residence in Malviya Nagar, South Delhi.

A 23-year-old domestic help, who had allegedly fled with his employer's cash and jewellery worth Rs ten lakh and 39 wrist watches was arrested from his native village in Bihar on June 30.

Domestic helpers have been behind as many as 2,764 thefts, 45 murders and 43 robberies in the last decade, say policve. As per figures released by the Delhi Police, the number of thefts reported in the capital went up from 1,565 in 2008 to 1,825 last year — an increase of 17 per cent.

In 216 instances of theft reported last year that is, in 12% of the total number of cases - servants were guilty, said police. During both 2008 and 2009, police were able to solve only half the cases of theft reported.

This comes just two years after Delhi Police started a massive door-to-door servant survey-cum-registration drive throu Delhi on February 1, 2008.

According to figures, 7,30,067 houses throughout the Capital were covered in the survey.

“While 34% of these servants were verified and registered in 2008, the number came to 70% last year,” said a senior police officer.