Vasai police on Wednesday arrested Francis Gomes (60), a Naigaon resident, for allegedly confining his wife and three adult daughters inside their flat for seven years.
The police suspect he is mentally unstable and have sent him for a medical examination. The case was discovered when Anand Rehabilitation Centre, a social organisation, helped by the police, rescued the wife and two daughters on Tuesday. One of the daughters had been rescued in July.
The police said the women are in bad shape physically and mentally, following years of abuse by Gomes.
The accused, currently unemployed, believed his daughters would be raped if they stepped out of the flat. Each morning, he would lock the flat from outside, so people would presume the family was out.
He also shut the windows, depriving the women of sunlight.
“He seems mentally unstable and needs psychological treatment,” said Police Inspector Ashok Pawar.
During early investigations, Gomes had claimed to have worked in a mill before losing the job about 15 years ago. He did not allow his daughters to watch television, saying it could have a “corrupting” influence on them, leading them to fall in love with someone. When they were studying, he would escort them everywhere, fearing they would be raped.
When his wife Teresa tried stopping him, he would assault her severely, as he did with his daughters if they did not listen to him. When one of the daughters was rescued in July, he had lodged a kidnapping case against Anand Rehabilitation Centre.
The rescued daughter (her name is being withheld as she now works with a suburban firm), had written in a letter to the police in July: “Whenever my daddy goes out, he locks us in the kitchen and also locks the main door from outside and we are all locked inside till my daddy comes home. My sister Barbara is very sick and is not able to sit straight or talk. She requires urgent medical help.”
When Gomes went missing after the case was discovered, locals caught him hiding nearby and handed him to the police on Wednesday.