A week after Aarti Thakur, 24 — arrested for allegedly beating up and branding her seven-year-old stepdaughter — was granted bail by a local court, she is still behind bars.
The reason: None of her relatives, friends or neighbours are willing to stand surety for her.
“Aarti was presented before the local court and granted bail on February 17. It has been a week now, but no one has come forward to stand surety for her,” said inspector Vishwas Sheller, of Dharavi police station. As per procedure, an accused cannot be released on bail until someone stands surety for him or her. A surety is someone who agrees to forfeit a sum of money if the accused fails to meet the conditions of their bail.
Shellar said that a surety amount of Rs15,000 also has to be paid. “It seems her relatives have been shocked by her behaviour. Till someone comes forth, she will have to stay behind bars.”
The shocking case of abuse came to light on February 1, when the victim, Menaka Thakur, ran out of her Shatabdi Nagar home in Dharavi. Locals rushed her to the Sion hospital. Menaka told the police that Aarti treated her as a domestic help, despite which she was denied proper food and tortured.
Menaka had come to the city from Gorakhpur in December, as her biological father, Sujith, wanted to educate her in Mumbai. Aarti, who has two daughters with Sujith, was reportedly unhappy with Menaka’s arrival in their home. Whenever Menaka said she could not do the housework, Aarti allegedly beat her up with rolling pins and branded her with hot spoons. The Dharavi police arrested Aarti for causing grievous hurt using dangerous weapons. (Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code) Menaka is currently recuperating at the JJ hospital. Once her condition improves, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) will decide who would take care of Menaka. They may approach her grandparents, who live in Bihar and raised her after her mother died several years ago, or a children’s care centre.
Menaka’s uncle Saroj, who has been taking care of her since incident came to light and grandfather Sukhnandan Thakur, will appeal to the CWC to grant them custody of Menaka.