A 53-Year-old advocate practising in the Bombay High Court was arrested by Kalachowki police for “marrying” a minor and allegedly sexually abusing her. The victim, a 17-year old, approached the police earlier this month and narrated her ordeal leading to the arrest. She told the police that she had been living with her “husband” and his 15-year-old daughter since July this year and was being abused. The advocate was arrested on December 14.
According to the victim, she lived with her grandparents in a village in western Maharashtra and she would meet her parents, who stayed in another village, only during school vacations. In 2015, when the girl was in Class IX, her grandmother told her that she had found a match for her. Although the victim told her grandmother that she wanted to study further and was too young to marry, the woman tried to convince her. She told her that she had found a boy and he would be coming to see her. The prospective groom eventually came to the village along with his relatives. The 17-year-old girl told the police that she was shocked to see that the “groom” was a middle-aged man. She immediately said no to the wedding.
But during her vacations in April 2015, when she was taken to her parents’ home, the girl’s cousins took her to another village where she was allegedly forcibly engaged to the accused. The victim was told that since her grandparents were old and her mother was unwell, there would be no one to take care of her. The accused allegedly promised to transfer a six-acre land plot in the victim’s name before the marriage.
As security, he transferred the plot four days before the wedding. The grandparents told the victim that the accused person’s wife passed away in 2014 and he had a teenaged daughter. The 17-year-old girl was married within a few days in a ceremony attended by over 40 people. The accused person then brought the girl to Mumbai. He allegedly sexually abused her several times by claiming that he was her legally-wed husband. According to the girl’s statement, the accused confined her to his home. She has told the police he began abusing her physically.
“The case came to light when the girl approached the police. An FIR against the accused, the girl’s grandparents and relatives was filed by the Kalachowki police under sections, including 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. We are probing the case,” said Dilip Ugale, the Senior Police Inspector, Kalachowki police station.