A Mumbai-based businessman and his wife were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly sexually assaulting two minor girls, one for over two months. The mother of one of the girls, a domestic help, was also arrested for allegedly sending her 16-year-old daughter to the couple, her employers, in exchange for money.
The exploitation continued for over two months before finally coming to an end when the couple involved another minor, a 14-year-old, whose mother reported her missing when she failed to return home for four days last month.
“The two minors live in the same locality and were friends. In June, the 16-year-old had taken the younger girl to a one-room-kitchen home owned by the businessman, under the pretext of giving her work. The younger girl was sexually assaulted there by the couple. On July 21, the girl was once again taken to the flat by her friend,” said a police officer. When the younger girl’s mother, also a domestic help, could not locate her for three days, she registered a missing person complaint with the police on July 24.
Police said when the elder girl told the couple that a missing person complaint has been filed, they allowed the 14-year-old to return home. “However, after being sexually assaulted for three days, the traumatised girl could not return home and spent one night at a garden. The next morning, she spent some time at a railway station before returning home,” said an officer.
On July 25, the 14-year-old’s mother took her to the local police station, following which the girl was medically examined at a government hospital. An officer said the report stated that the girl had been sexually assaulted.
“Initially, she refused to divulge any details, as she had been threatened by the three accused. However, after we won her confidence, she shared information about the incident and also revealed that her friend, the 16-year-old, was also being sexually exploited by the couple,” said Senior Inspector Parmeshwar Ganame. Investigators then brought the elder girl to the police station and recorded her statement.
A preliminary report by the hospital showed evidence of sexual assault against the 14-year-old. Subsequently, three days later, a detailed medical report was submitted. “On Tuesday, after we got a second opinion from doctors confirming that she was sexually abused, we registered a case,” said Ganame.
The couple was arrested from their residence. While the man, aged 54, is a civil works contractor, his wife is 40 years old. They have two daughters, aged 22 and 21. The couple was booked under sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape), 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of the IPC and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The 16-year-old’s mother, a widow, was also arrested under similar sections. Police said the 39-year-old woman was initially paid Rs 2,500 by the couple, following which she was handed different sums of money over a period of two months. “The woman used to work at their residence as a domestic help. When the couple hinted that they were looking for a minor for sex, she offered her daughter to the couple for money,” said an officer.