Domestic help torture case: Why placement agent not made witness, Court asks cops

Delhi Police was asked by court here as to why placement agent, held for providing domestic help to Vandana Dhir who assaulted and confined maid at her house, was not made prosecution witness in case.

New Delhi: Delhi Police was on Friday asked by a court here as to why the placement agent, held for providing a domestic help to a 50-year-old woman who allegedly assaulted and confined the maid at her house, was not made a prosecution witness in the case.
"Why did you (police) not make her (accused) a prosecution witness instead of arresting her? She would have been a very important prosecution witness in the case," Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said while remanding Dorothy to judicial custody till October 7.

To this, police said that the arrested accused, Vandana Dhir, who is in judicial custody till October 15, had said she had asked the placement agent to replace the maid but it was Dorothy who insisted that there was no replacement for the domestic help.

During the hearing, police told court that Dorothy was arrested after they investigated the cash memo of the placement agency which had found the maid employment at Dhir`s house.

It said that provisions of the Bonded Labour Act and Immoral Trafficking Act have been invoked against Dorothy besides the charge of illegal confinement under IPC.

Police said it was Dorothy who had brought the girl from Jharkhand to Delhi on the pretext of getting her employed here but no money was paid to the maid although she was promised Rs 4,000 per month.

It also said that a consolidated amount, to be paid to the maid for the work, was fixed between Dorothy and Dhir, but the victim was not told anything about it.

Dorothy, however, countered the claims of the police and said that the maid was beaten up by her parents and she was not given food at her home. She said that the girl was very disturbed and that is why she brought her to Delhi.

She also said that she had given two mobile phones and Rs 20,000 in cash to the parents of the victim. She added that the girl had told her she would take the money she had earned in Delhi from her when she went back to her village in Jharkhand.

The victim, a resident of Jharkhand, was rescued from Dhir`s Vasant Kunj home where she had been working as a domestic help and was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital with severe injuries.

Dorothy told court that the girl had been working as a maid in Dhir`s house for the last two-and-half months.

Talking to mediapersons inside the courtroom, Dorothy said that the girl was with her in Delhi for over 10 months and had worked as a maid earlier before being employed with Dhir.

She said that while she had been working at another house as a maid, no complaint about her was received.

The magistrate, who talked to Dorothy in chamber, told police that the placement agent had not said that Dhir had approached her for replacing the domestic help.

"She (Dorothy) told me in-chamber that (Dhir) had not asked her for any replacement of maids," the court observed, adding that provisions of the Immoral Trafficking Act were not made out against Dorothy.

It also directed police to obtain a statement of the victim`s mother recorded before a magistrate. It asked the investigating officer that all documents and statements of the victim`s mother and Kajal, who earlier used to work as a maid in Dhir`s house, be placed before it by October 7.

It also asked police to bring all the documents related to the agreement, if any, between the placement agency and Dhir regarding employment of the victim as a domestic help.

It also directed that Dorothy be provided legal aid through the Delhi Legal Services Authority as she was not represented by any counsel during the hearing.

As soon as the proceedings began, the court asked Dorothy as to why her eyes were red with the accused replying that she had been weeping since her arrest. Jail authorities were then asked to provide appropriate treatment to Dorothy as she complained of body pain.

The victim in the case was badly injured and rescued by a joint team of NGO Shakti Vahini and police from the ground floor of Dhir`s residence on the evening of September 30.

Dhir was arrested on October 1 after police filed a case under various sections of IPC and under the provisions of the Bonded Labour Act.

The girl had reportedly told police that she had been working with Dhir for the past one year without getting any remuneration and used to get beaten up almost every day as her employer was apparently not happy with her work.