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New Delhi court convicts 2 men for compelling kids to work as labourers

New Delhi: A Delhi court has convicted two men of wrongfully confining three kids, compelling them to work in a restaurant without salary and sodomising one of them.

The court held the accused - Raju Gupta and Rajesh Shukla - guilty of offences under the IPC and provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, saying there was evidence against them. Rajesh was also held guilty of trying to sodomise one of the kids.

"I have reached a conclusion that the prosecution's case stands duly proved. There is overwhelming evidence to show that the rescued boys were below 18 years of age. "All three boys deposed in sync and gave similar account of cruelty committed upon them by the accused persons. They deposed that they were forcibly made to work at the dhaba without salary. It has been proved that the accused were exercising control over the boys and they treated them with cruelty as defined under Section 23 of Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Child) Act," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhanshu Malik said.

The court, while convicting Rajesh under section 377 (sodomy) read with 511 of IPC, said, "there is evidence that Rajesh attempted to commit carnal intercourse with one of the kids. The unrebutted statement of the child is more than sufficient to establish this fact in issue."

The court is yet to pronounce the quantum of sentence to the convicts. According to prosecution, Raju and Rajesh had in 2011 allegedly wrongfully confined the three children, who were between 13-16 years of age and had come to Delhi from West Bengal, at their dhaba (restaurant) and compelled them to work as labourers.

It was also alleged that during the period of wrongful confinement, Rajesh attempted to sodomise one of the children and therefore, charge under Section 377 (sodomy) of the IPC read with Section 511 IPC was pressed against him. They were tried for committing offences under Section 342 (wrongful confinement) and 374(unlawful compulsory labour) of the IPC and provisions under the Juvenile Justice Act.

The police said the victims came to Delhi in 2011 from their village in West Bengal and started looking for some work near New Delhi Railway Station. They were hired as labourers at a dhaba owned by the convicts in Paharganj in central Delhi. When the children expressed their desire to leave, they forcibly made them work.

In 2012, one of the kids escaped from the restaurant and was found by an NGO to which he narrated his ordeal. Soon, the other two boys were also rescued and an FIR lodged against the accused duo.

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