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A court on Wednesday sent Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Dhananjay Singh and wife Jagriti to five-day police custody in connection with the murder of their 35-year-old maid and repeated physical abuse of a minor domestic help.
"The alleged offences are of very serious nature. The accused persons have been arrested on Tuesday and for the recovery of the case property and in aid of the investigation, five days police custody remand is desirable,” the court ruled.
The police had sought seven days remand for recovering the objects with which Jagriti had assaulted the duo and footage from CCTV cameras installed at the house.
Additional public prosecutor Mukul Kumar told the court that one of the maids, Meena, was severely injured and is currently being treated at a hospital.
The police on Tuesday arrested the couple for their alleged involvement in the death of Rakhi Bhadra and assault on the 17-year-old domestic help at their residence in the capital city on Sunday night.
This is the third time in less than a month that the capital city has seen a case of brutality against domestic helps making headlines. An airhostess was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting her 13-year-old domestic help. In another case, a senior executive in a multinational firm was jailed for brutally assaulting her teenage servant. The incidents underscore the government’s failure to enforce a law it brought earlier this year to end brutality against domestic helps, which are common in Indian cities but are rarely reported.
Jagriti, a dentist at New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, was picked up for questioning earlier in the day after the minor testified she beat him and Rakhi up with an iron rod and sticks, the police said. But instead of taking them to hospital, the accused, gave them first aid at home, said a police officer who didn’t want to be named.
The police were informed about Rakhi’s death on Monday night though she is believed to have died in the morning. The police have confirmed injury marks were found on the maid’s head, arms, legs and chest.
Jagriti has been booked for murder, attempt to murder and for employing and assaulting a juvenile. Her husband, a Lok Sabha MP from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, was booked for concealment of evidence.
The couple had been estranged over domestic differences and had reportedly filed for divorce seven months ago.
The torture of the domestic helps had been going for many months, the 17-year-old has told the police. Their employer would beat them up with sticks, hit them with the antlers of a deer trophy hanging in the living room and even brand their private parts with a smouldering iron on a whim. As a punishment, she would also make them stand in the sun for long hours, the police said.
“On the morning of Diwali, Jagriti was supervising Rakhi as she cleaned the house,” said the officer. “Jagriti suddenly pounced on Rakhi, furious that she wasn’t dusting the living room properly.”
She pinned her to the ground and tried to strangle her before beating her up with a stick, he said. She threw her against the walls and finally pushed her down the stairs. “Rakhi didn’t get up after the Diwali day beating,” the officer said.
Refuting the charges, Jagriti’s husband said his wife had called him three days ago and said the maid had injured herself after a fall from the terrace of the house.