A 55-year-old man was arrested on Sunday for allegedly molesting two minors employed by him as housemaids, hours after they began working at his Malwani residence.
Police said they arrested the accused, identified as Elias Fernandes, a resident of Janhvi apartments in Jankalyan Nagar, after they received an order from the court.
According to the police, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) had approached the court, requesting for directions to the Malwani police to investigate the matter.
After that, the court asked the cops to take the accused into custody.
The accused, however, has told the cops that after he paid Rs 24,000 to a man named Ramesh for the two girls aged 15 and 16 years, they left the house later in the evening, prompting him to lodge a ‘missing person’ complaint at Malwani police station on the same day and placing an ad in a newspaper the next day.
According to the girls’ statements, recorded in front of the CWC, they are residents of Odisha, and Ramesh had approached their parents with an offer to educate them in Kerala so that they could secure good jobs.
The girls told the CWC members that last week Ramesh brought them to Malwani and sold them for Rs 24,000 to a man in Malad.
The girls further said that after Ramesh left them with their new employer, he physically molested them on Monday. But they refused to give into the accused’s advances, and fled the house.
Members of International Justice Mission then rescued the girls and presented them before the CWC.
“We have arrested Fernandes based on the court order,” said Abdul Shaikh, senior inspector of Malwani police station.
Fernandes told the cops that he wanted domestic help. Last week, Ramesh contacted him and offered him a 16-year-old girl for Rs 12,000. When Fernandes agreed, Ramesh brought two girls to his house. Fernandes told the cops that Ramesh requested him to accommodate the other girl too since she was supposed to commence work at another residence after two days. Ramesh asked Fernandes to pay him an additional Rs 12,000.
“Until Ramesh is arrested, we cannot believe whatever Fernandes has said. Since the girls have recorded their statement with the CWC court, we have to adhere by their decree,” added Shaikh.
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