Rescued girl’s Vasant Kunj employer sent to one-day police custody for interrogation

Fifty-year-old Vandana Dheer, who was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly torturing a young domestic worker, was produced in a city court which sent her to one-day police custody. The victim was rescued by a joint team on Monday from the Vasant Kunj residence of the accused.

The accused, who works at a senior position in a private company, was produced in the chamber of Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha. The police were given custody of the accused for interrogation.

She was arrested and booked under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt); 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means); 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons and means); and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code, besides relevant provisions of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act.

Representatives of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, which was part of the rescue team, alleged that the police had not invoked stringent provisions against the accused. They said the police should have included provisions related to human trafficking. They added that in case the victim turns out to be a minor, the Juvenile Justice Act should also be invoked.

Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini said: “Although the girl could not confirm her age, we strongly suspect that she is a minor. The police have at some places mentioned her age as 16, while the Safdarjung Hospital records showed her to be of 18 years. The police finally recorded her age as 18 in the First Information Report, but on what basis?”

Mr. Kant said: “Her age would be finally determined by an ossification test, as directed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights”. He added that the Labour Commissioner had also visited the victim.

Mr. Kant alleged that the doctors at Safdarjung Hospital had discharged the victim on Tuesday morning, despite the fact that she had serious injuries. Mr. Kant said it was only after the intervention of Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia that the girl got a bed.

The NGO said the police have not initiated legal proceedings against the agency through which the accused had employed the victim about a year ago. “The girl has disclosed that she was brought to the Capital a year ago and placed as a domestic help at the residence of the accused,” he alleged.

The Jharkhand Government tracked down the girl’s mother, who is a widow. “She is being brought to Delhi,” Mr. Kant added.

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