SIX MEMBERS of a family suspected to be involved in luring minor children from Bihar to work in the city were arrested by Mumbai police Sunday in connection with the murder of a 12-year-old boy. The body of the child, who had been brought to the city from Bihar in a similar manner, was found in a suitcase at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus on January 8.
The boy was later identified as Randhir Sahni. The six accused had employed him at a Malad workshop for making imitation jewellery.
Additional Commissioner of Police (East Region) Manoj Lohiya said: “We have arrested six persons, including a 20-year-old, who murdered Sahni after a fight. On January 7, Randhir and one of the accused, Rannvijay Sahni, had a fight after which, Rannvijay smothered him with his hands. The next morning, when he went to wake up Randhir, he found that the 12-year-old had died. Rannvijay, along with his parents and three other relatives, then tried to dispose of the body. All six have been placed under arrest.”
A police officer said: “Rannvijay would get upset if Randhir did not take his food or woke up late compared to the other 15-odd people, mostly children, at the workshop. It was because of this that the duo had a fight which led to Rannvijay smothering him.”
A local who knew the family, however, said the deceased boy had fever and was unable to work one day but the accused asked him to work and started beating him up.
The subsequent day, Rannvijay, his parents Shivnath (36) and Renu Devi (35), relatives Krishna Sahni (28), Ramanand Sahni (45) and Vinay Sahni (33) allegedly started thinking of ways to dispose of the body and they
decided to take the body to Bihar.
They asked a relative to go to Vaishali district in Bihar and inform the boy’s mother that he had passed away because of some health complications.
Then the family tied up the boy’s body with Renu Devi’s saree and put it in a suitcase that they had purchased from Malad on January 8. The family members then hailed a cab for LTT and put the suitcase in the car boot.
Two relatives followed the cab on a bike to ensure that everything went according to plan.
They were to take a train to Bihar at 8pm from LTT but when they saw that the suitcase had to pass through baggage scanners, decided against boarding the train.
They dumped the bag at LTT and fled. Soon the police was informed about the suitcase and an FIR was registered at Tilak Nagar police station.
Senior inspector Vijay Khaire and inspector Shankar Babar started probe and traced the red suitcase to a shop in Malad.
Two of the accused, Rannvijay and Krishna, were seen buying the bag in a footage from the CCTV mounted in the shop.
“We put up nearly 5,000 posters of the two accused and of the deceased boy across Malad area,” Khaire said.
The police received information that the accused duo stayed in Appapada area of Kurar in Malad (east). Based on the lead, the police arrested four of the accused from Bihar and two others were picked up from Baramati in Maharashtra.
According to a resident of Appapada in Kurar village, the Sahni family frequently employed child labour and brought minors from different villages to make them work.
“They got children from different villages and loaned them out to work in other businesses that needed cheap labour. They also employed minors in their zari business and forced them to work for long hours,” said Lalit, a resident of Appapada, who works in Goregoan film city.
Vijay Khaire, senior inspector, Tilak Nagar police station, said: “The family also paid the deceased child’s mother Rs 1.20 lakh claiming that it was the amount that Randhir had earned during his days at work.”