NEW DELHI: In the case of a 13-year-old maid being locked up in a Dwarka house as the family went on a vacation to Bangkok, a city court on Friday remanded Dr Sanjay Verma, his wife, Dr Sumita Verma, and an alleged middleman, Mahadev, to three days in police custody.
The police had sought the custody of Dr Sanjay Verma and Mahadev only, on the ground that they wanted to probe the angle of “human trafficking” which had brought the girl to the capital. But Metropolitan Magistrate Arul Verma said the custody of Dr Sumita Verma was “imperative to bust this syndicate of illegal trafficking“. He then rejected the bail plea of Dr Sumita Verma.
She had moved a bail application pleading that she was a woman. She also told the court that she had an 11-year-old child to take care of. The court then posed to hers: “You took your child with you. Why did you not leave your child? Would you have left your child alone?”
Her counsel said the child had been employed only as a domestic help for cleaning and cooking, that she addressed the couple as ‘bhaiya and bhabhi’ and that the MLC had described the victim’s injuries as ‘simple’. They attributed the entire episode to “professional jealousy”. The counsel said they were ready to give the girl a compensation of Rs 75,000 and that she would also be given vocational training.
When Delhi Police kept silent on the bail plea, the judge asked the IO to spell out their stand. “Don’t tell me you are not (opposing) as you are for the state,” he told the IO. The police later opposed bail saying the girl was 13-years-old as against the claim of the accused that the girl was more than 16-years-old.
The assistant public prosecutor and NGO Shakti Vahini, which rescued the girl, also opposed bail saying that the girl was made to work in a clinic and was exposed to a lot of human waste, which is hazardous in nature. It challenged the assumption that a small girl in the grip of fear could make a telephone call to the police.
The police, which produced the couple after completion of their two-day remand, had sought an extension to “complete the chain” through which the girl was brought to Delhi from Jharkhand, her native place. It also produced one Mahadev, who is said to have handed over the girl to the placement agency after getting her from one Narayan Sahu in Jharkhand. They said they wished to locate the owner of the placement agency, Durga, who provided the maid.
Dismissing the bail plea, the court said, the FIR showed that the “accused did subject the victim to a treatment which can be best described as torture”. Her condition must have caused “unimaginable mental anguish” it said. “Using these children for benefit at the cost of their self-development is completely unacceptable and such a practice must be extirpated from the root. Not just the employers but also the ‘maid agencies’ involved need to be brought to the book,” it observed.
The child had been rescued on March 29 after the area’s housemaids complained to cops. Next day the girl was produced before the child welfare committee of the area and the sub-divisional magistrate after which she was sent to a children’s home at the Nirmal Chhaya complex. The police finally arrested the couple on April 4 from a mall in Rajouri Garden.
NO UPDATE ON THE MOTHER