Jail for 2 Britons for child abuse

Special Correspondent

Sentenced to six years RI, fined Rs. 32 lakh each

Let paedophiles across the world know that India should not be their destination, says judge Committee constituted for care of children from Anchorage Shelters

MUMBAI: In a landmark order, Additional Sessions Judge P.S. Paranjape on Saturday convicted two British ex-Royal Navy men, Duncan Grant and Alan Waters, for offences related to unnatural sex and abuse of children and sentenced them to a maximum of six years rigorous imprisonment (RI).

Grant founded Anchorage Shelter Home in Colaba in 1995, which Waters visited frequently. On October 24, 2001, Childline, an NGO, filed a police complaint alleging sexual abuse of children by Grant and Waters at the Anchorage, not a registered home for children. The trial began last year after Grant and Waters were extradited.

The court also convicted William Michael D'Souza, manager of the shelter, for assaulting the children and abetting in the conspiracy, and sentenced him to three years RI and a fine of Rs. 6,500.

Justice Paranjape fined Grant (62) and Waters (58) £20,000 each to be paid in rupees as per the exchange rate prevailing on Saturday (£1 = Rs. 79.05), a fine of Rs. 32 lakhs each. In default, Waters and Grant will have to serve a sentence of one year RI each. Of this sum, Rs. 5 lakh each is to be used for the rehabilitation of the two boys, Kranti Londhe and Sunil Kadam, whose testimony in court was crucial to the case.

A deterrent

The judge said one of the objectives for the court in the case was to wipe India off the sex tourism map. "Let paedophiles all over the world know that India should not be their destination in future," he said. The fines would also act as a deterrent to other paedophiles, he said and added that the two convicted men must feel the "economic pinch."

He also said that it was the duty of the court to ensure that all children residing in the Anchorage shelter homes at Colaba, Cuffe Parade and Murud Janjira were taken care of and rehabilitated. He constituted a committee headed by advocate, Maharukh Adenwalla, a key witness in the case.

The committee will look into the aspects of rehabilitation, prepare a scheme and submit it to the principal judge of the sessions court. He named Kalindi Mazumdar, former Vice Principal of Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, as the other member and recommended that Renu Gavaskar, who has worked with children in the David Sassoon Industrial School, as the third person.

Waters, who used to visit India very often to help in the running of Anchorage, was sentenced to six years RI for offences under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and three years RI for offences under Section 373. Grant founded the shelters for young boys who lived on the streets around the Gateway of India and Taj Hotel in South Mumbai. He got six years RI for offences under Section 377, three years RI for Section 373 read with 109 and three years for offences under section 372 of the IPC. These sections relate to unnatural sex, causing hurt and sexual abuse. All the sentences will run concurrently.

The special public prosecutor in the case, Vijay Nahar, said he would apply for enhancement of the sentence.

While delivering the order, Justice Paranjape said that the police failed in performing their duty and no proper investigation was done. The police should have understood that there is reluctance on the part of witnesses in cases of paedophilia.

Defence lawyer Majeed Memon submitted in court that Waters was brought to India on September 6, 2004, and had been facing trial for one and a half years.

He was arrested on July 3, 2003, in the United States and was in custody there till his extradition proceedings were started in February 2004. Grant was traced to Tanzania where he started a home for children but India did not have an extradition treaty with Tanzania. He managed to escape to U.K. and was finally extradited in June 2005 and has been in custody in Mumbai since.

Childline complained to the Maharashtra State Monitoring Committee appointed by the Bombay High Court to examine conditions in children's institutions. No investigations were carried out till Ms. Adenwalla filed a High Court petition. The prosecution examined seven witnesses.