Mumbai Crime: Playschool owner raped maid, wife tortured her
A horrifying case of the most extreme forms of torture and sexual assault has come to the fore in Virar. The Arnala Sagari police there arrested the owner of a playschool for allegedly raping his 30-year-old help for several years. The man and his wife are also accused of subjecting the survivor to brutal torture.
Leon and Reema Lamba
Police arrested Leon Lamba (37) from his residence, after the 30-year-old registered a complaint. His wife Reema (35), however, managed to escape and is still at large.
Reema’s mother and daughter are also on the run. The couple hails from Darjeeling and came to Virar’s Bolinj several years ago. They brought along the survivor in 2000, from 24 Parganas, a district in West Bengal, promising good pay and a better life.
According to the survivor’s statement, Leon had raped her on several occasions when he got drunk. This had been going on for several years. Reema, too, had been torturing her, and when the survivor told her of the rapes, her nightmare only got worse.
The help told police that she would be punished at the slightest slip. On one occasion, she was forced to swallow red chilli powder after the couple felt she had not ‘served them food properly’. She herself would not be given food to eat for several days.
On another occasion, when she forgot to light candles Virar has load shedding the couple allegedly poured burning candle wax upon her body. On another day, when they allegedly found hair in their food, the couple cut the woman’s hair and put it in water.
The survivor was then forced to drink this water for three whole days. The duo also inflicted injuries on her with a burning mosquito coil. The woman has over 200 injuries on her body. Unable to bear the torment any longer, she somehow managed to escape their clutches and was found by locals, who sent her to the police station.
A police officer from Arnala Sagari police station said, “After the FIR, we arrested Leon from his flat on Tuesday night. He was produced in Vasai court and remanded to police custody till January 20.” He was booked under Sections 376 (rape), 326 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Since a woman cannot be arrested without an accompanying female police official, cops were not able to bring in Reema. She had fled her home when cops reached there the next day. The couple operates a playschool and a small hostel for children at their flat. They also own a car rental business in Bandra. The survivor is currently in a hospital and local activists are helping her fight for justice.