On the afternoon of January 10, passersby found a teenage girl unconscious on the roadside near Wagle Estate, Thane. When the girl was unable to provide her address, they escorted her to the local police station. What emerged was a tale of horror, torment and perversion that began a year ago.
The 14-year-old victim (name withheld) is originally a resident of 24 Parganas in West Bengal. She was lured to Mumbai by the accused with the offer of a dream job, and later forced into the flesh trade. One of the three accused, who are now in police custody, Ufiya Ghosh (36), had some relatives in West Bengal. A year ago, he along with co-accused Raju Haldar (26) visited their native place and met the girl. They then escorted her to the city.
No way out
The girl was brought to the house in Thane where the duo lived with the third accused Abdul Gazi (27). According to the police, the same day the miscreants called some customers to rape her in exchange for money. Whenever the girl refused to cooperate, they threatened and tortured her. She was often starved and never allowed to leave the house. The accused also deliberately burned her on some occasions. On Tuesday afternoon when the house was empty, the girl saw an opportunity and managed to escape. She ran a short distance but soon fainted due to her weak physical and mental state.
"We have kept the girl in our custody. She is traumatised and is not responding to our words. If any of our officers approach her to record her statement, she gets really scared. She does not speak any language other than Bengali. She will be taken for a medical examination soon," an officer from Wagle Estate police station said.
The three accused, who were arrested from their house in Ambika Nagar, have been charged under sections 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace). They have also been booked under The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. The accused were produced in court yesterday where they were remanded to police custody for seven days.
Police are also investigating whether the accused exploited any other girls with the same modus operandi.