More than a month after the alleged harassment meted out to seven-year-old Menaka Thakur came to light on February 1, the Dharavi police, at the insistence of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) , arrested Menaka's father Sujith Thakur on Friday.
Senior inspector of Dharavi police station Ashok Survegandh said that the CWC, that met on Friday to decide on the girls custody, found it difficult to believe Menaka's father would not have known about the alleged torture she went through for more than two months.
Survegandh said, "The CWC asked us to record Menaka's statement again as they suspected her father could have saved her, had he intervened. When police recorded her statement in the presence of a Probation Officer (PO) (officer in charge of a case at the children's home), Menaka said that she had told her father about the harassment several times. But he would just shout back at her. He did not care to take her to the hospital for the wounds his second wife inflicted."
When questioned why the Dharavi police waited for CWC, the body authorised to take a decision on the girl's custody, to direct them and had not arrested Sujith earlier, Survegandh said, "Menaka had not mentioned that her father had known about her condition."
Sources in the police station however told HT that while the police may have not taken the fact that Menaka's father was a silent accomplice to the act on record, they were aware about this but did not book him on 'humanitarian grounds' as the couple also had two young daughters.
An officer said, "Sujith went to his native place and entrusted the care of his daughters to his second wife's relatives, who are now looking after them." Sujith has been booked under sections 107 and 326 of the IPC and will be presented before the local court for custody.
SA Jadhav, superintendent at children's home, where Menaka is currently housed told HT, "The PO in this particular case, Sunita Dabholkar, had gone twice to JJ hospital to record Menaka's statement. But she was in shock and could not open up earlier."