Initial investigations in the case of eight women who escaped from Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruha at Chembur on Monday have hinted at insider assistance in the escape. In the past two instances, too, where women escaped from the shelter home, the police have been probing an insider hand but could not establish anything.
An officer from Govandi police, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “On all three occasions, the women used hacksaws to cut the bathroom grill and escape. There are no hacksaws on the premises and the women there do not leave the compound. So, how did the hacksaws reach them?” He said, “This happened in all three instances. On the earlier two occasions we seized the hacksaws, and this time it seems someone smuggled it in again.”
Additional commissioner of police (East region) Quaiser Khalid said, “It is true that all three times the women used a hacksaw to cut the grills. We are investigating how these hacksaws reached the women considering there are no hacksaws on the premises.” When asked about insider involvement Khalid said, “It would be premature to comment on that. We are investigating all angles.”
Khalid confirmed that all nine girls who attempted to escape had already been granted permission by the court to go home. They were, however, not sent home because of a shortage of police personnel to escort them home, as required by the law. Firoza, 30, the only woman who could not escape as she fractured her legs, is still recuperating at the Shatabadi hospital.
The police are in the process of recording her statement. Khalid did not elaborate on what Firoza has said so far. When questioned if Firoza would be arrested after she recuperates, considering the Govandi police have registered a case - under section 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) of the Indian Penal Code – Khalid said, “A decision will be taken once she is discharged.” Firoza, too, had been granted permission to leave the shelter home by the court.