Her employer had complained 150 saris were stolen

Mystery surrounds the disappearance of a domestic help since three weeks when the Vidyaranyapura police took her for questioning for alleged theft of saris from her employer’s house.

While Lakshmi Devi (28), who has a disability in her legs, remains missing, it has been an unending nightmare for the family. Her mother, father and brother were reportedly confined illegally and tortured for three days before being let off, and forced to pay a Rs. 15,000 bribe to the police.

According to a petition filed by the family before the City Police Commissioner by her husband, Pullanna, the mother of two was taken away from her house in Doddabommasandra on June 12 after her employer, a doctor, lodged a complaint with the Vidyaranyapura police that 150 saris had gone missing. Ms. Devi’s family claimed that she had been working for the doctor for only three days.

Rs. 15,000 extortion

Devi’s parents and brother were let off after three days of grilling by the police, who extorted Rs. 15,000 from them, their petition to the Police Commissioner’s office said.

Following the complaint, the jurisdictional Assistant Commissioner of Police has been asked to inquire and submit a report about the alleged torture.

Reconstructing their harrowing time, Mr. Pullanna alleged that the police assaulted Ms. Devi and bundled her into a jeep after ransacking the house on the pretext of searching for the missing saris. “When I went to the police after waiting all night for her return, they told me they had already released her. A team of police from Vidyaranayapura picked up her parents and brother Ramesh (25). In the station, on the pretext of investigations, they tortured them.”

Torture marks

Showing the marks all over the body, Narayanamma (56), Ms. Devi’s mother, said: “I was kicked and beaten with lathis on my private parts. The police beat up my husband and son so much so that they are unable to walk now.”

Their ordeal came to an end only after three days when neighbours came to their rescue. Ms. Devi’s father Obalesh (60) considers himself “lucky” because he was not tortured to such a severe degree. The police demanded Rs. 30,000 for their release but the family settled for half that, the complaint said.

“We are not aware of anything and our only mistake is that my daughter went to work in the house of the doctor,” Ms. Narayanamma said. “She had joined only three days earlier. The police ransacked our houses to search for the stolen saris, but they could not get anything.”

Asked for a response, Vidyaranayapura Police Inspector B.P. Prasad said he was out of station and not aware of the case.