The owner of a domestic help agency through whom the tribal girl had been placed at the Vasant Kunj residence from where she was later rescued, was arrested on Thursday.

The police probe has revealed that accused Vandana Dheer, who headed the corporate communications division of a reputed multinational company, had employed the girl through one Dorothy placement service in South Extension. “Agency owner Dorothy, who also hails from Jharkhand, was detained for questioning. During interrogation, she disclosed that she had taken Rs.20,000 as commission from the accused. However, she did not make efforts to rescue the victim,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) B.S. Jaiswal.

Since the victim is a tribal, the police have invoked Section 3 (vi) of the SC/ST Act (bonded labour). “We have also included relevant provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act,” said the district police chief.

The girl’s mother, who is scheduled to arrive in the Capital in the early hours of Friday from Sahebganj in Jharkhand, earlier told The Hindu that about four years ago a man named Lukhi Ram and his wife from Taljahri village came looking for girls aspiring for jobs in cities. The girl agreed to come to the Capital along with Lukhi Ram.

In the past four years, the victim was placed as a domestic help in Noida and Lajpat Nagar before being employed by Ms. Dheer for household works. The victim has alleged that the woman would beat her, peel off her skin with knives and hit her on the head with heavy utensils and keep her confined in a semi-naked condition.

Narrating her plight, the victim on Thursday told the case investigating officer that the accused woman had made her drink urine twice and would at times strip her and ask the colony guards to take her away. Her statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code would soon be recorded before a magistrate.

According to sources, the accused has been suspended by her employers for alleged involvement in the case. She is presently in judicial custody.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) says that the victim was around 18 years when rescued from the clutches of her employer who had allegedly kept her in confinement for the past several months. “We have received the girl’s school certificate, which will be forwarded to the Child Welfare Committee,” said NCPCR member Vinod Tikku.

Rishi Kant of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini, which carried out the rescue operation along with the Delhi Commission for Women representatives and the local police said: “The girl’s condition has improved. She has opened up to our counsellor Pallavi, who has been taking care of her since day one. On Thursday, Joint Commissioner of Police Vivek Gogia also met the girl at the hospital,” said Mr. Kant.

Earlier in the day, CPI (M) Polit Bureau Member Brinda Karat met Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi and expressed her concerns. In a letter to the police chief, she demanded that Section 307 (attempted murder) of the Indian Penal Code should also be slapped on the accused. “There have been many cases where domestic workers like her have faced torture at the hands of their employers in Delhi. This particularly is a barbaric case. It is very important that a strong message goes to such employeesshe said.

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