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Mumbai: Rescued man was schizophrenic

Police take his statement, probe why he was confined by family.

man locked, man locked 10 years, mumbai police, man rescued, mumbai news, city news, locla news, maharashtra news, Indian Express Raj Patel, who had been locked up for at least eight years, is rescued from his home by an NGO worker. (Source: Express Photo by Narendra Vaskar)

Primary medical reports on a 22-year-old man locked up in his house for at least eight years shows he suffers from schizophrenia, malnourishment and anaemia. A probe into the details reveals that his siblings from his mother and stepmother have been making daily treks since 2010 with a bucket of water each, as their flat in Belapur has been without electricity or water.

Raj Patel’s plight came to light when one of the siblings pleaded for grocery in a nearby building and were overheard by an NGO worker.

Gopal and Sharda Shah of NGO Damini Sena rescued him and admitted him to DY Patil Hospital. They claim the eighth-class pass man has been confined to a room with just a window, a torn mattress and a non-functional bathroom for eight years. “He was given food once in three days or a week,” said Gopal Shah The police are probing why he was confined by his family.


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Dressed in the hospital’s blue uniform, he sat with head bowed on a cot in the psychiatry unit. On Saturday, Raj had his first bath (a sponged one) since 2007. His mind is still like a child’s, he pleaded for food. “He thinks he’s still a child. So every stranger is an aunty or uncle,” his sister, Riya Patel (20) explains.

According to DCP Meera Bansode, Navi Mumbai, Rushabh’s statement was recorded on Saturday and investigations are on. “By Monday, we will get a clear idea on why the boy was held captive in his own house,” Bansode said.

His father Rushabh Patel claims, “He became violent since 2007. Started staying aloof…In 2011, when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, we had no option but to lock him up.” Rushabh who earlier owned a plastic factory in Gujarat now trades in shares.

Rushabh had three children, Raj (22), Riya (20) and Richa (15) from his first wife Shivani, with whom he separated in 2002. He shifted from Lokhandwala to Belapur to live with his second wife, formerly a housemaid with them, and had seven more children. Riya claims she visited her mother’s Lokhandwala salon once to ask for help. “She said shift with her but how could we?” Riya says.


Rushabh says he paid Rs 70 lakhs for two flats and converted them into one unit in 1995. There followed a legal wrangle between investors and financiers.

In 2004, Rushabh moved in with his family and in 2010, the building’s power and water supply were cut following which four other residents vacated their houses. The Patels continued to stay. Today, the 12-member family is the only occupant of the building, which has 150-odd flats.

They make do with candles and torches, draw water from an underground tank and borrow drinking water from a nearby building. “We take bath once a week,” Riya explains. According to watchmen, all the children climb the nine floors with buckets every few hours.


According to K Kumar, who owned a flat on the fifth floor, “In 2007, we called police to rescue the boy but the parents convinced them he was mentally ill. I have seen the boy scratch the walls and eat chuna (limestone),” Kumar claims, adding the family’s living conditions were “pathetic”.

Rushabh was arrested in 2006 and jailed for 40 days for theft. In 2009, a local court acquitted him.

The Patels claim they tried feeding Raj but he did not cooperate. “He became depressed after my father’s arrest. When electricity was cut, he could not watch TV or work on computer. We have four dogs, if we can feed them then why not my brother,” Riya says.

According to Rushabh, Raj was used to an opulent lifestyle until financial conditions worsened. “He wanted hot water for bath. How could we get that?” Rushabh says.

On Friday, Raj showed some aggression that subsided by Saturday afternoon. Now he pleads for food. He weighs less than 25 kgs. According to doctors, six weeks of treatment will be needed to get him fit. “Counselling will start after that,” Dr Shyam More, hospital’s superintendent said. Damini Sena is trying to admit his nine siblings in school and is attempting to raise funds.

First published on: 21-06-2015 at 12:38:10 am
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