Mumbai Crime: German woman held, beaten by Facebook friend at SoBo flat
Cops arrest violent man who held 53-year-old foreigner at knife point, thrashed her and threatened to throw her off the window
Drama of sorts played out on International Woman's Day, when a 53-year-old German, who was abused and physically assaulted by a friend in south Mumbai, desperately took to Facebook to seek help. The post caught the attention of a former Indian Coast Guard Commandant, Dinesh Chauhan. He immediately arranged to have the woman rescued and her abuser, whom she had befriended on Facebook, arrested.
In her complaint to the police (a copy of which is with this paper), the woman (name withheld to protect her identity), who is half-Indian and lives in Berlin, Germany, stated that that she had come in contact with the accused, identified as Amano Khambato alias Jamshed Khambata, who lives in Churchgate, two years ago. He had introduced himself on facebook saying he knew two of her cousins. They soon developed a friendship and when he invited her to Mumbai, she accepted.
The woman said she arrived in Mumbai on March 5 and Khambata took her straight to his flat in Churchgate. She said, "He immediately started misbehaving with me. I pushed him away and told him we were only friends. After that his behaviour changed completely. He demanded that I pay for the food, electricity and stay. He had invited me to India, but made me pay even for electricity. I gave him 50 euros."
Dinesh Chauhan, the good Samaritan
She said, "On March 7, he started abusing me and became violent, which is when I posted a message on Facebook asking for help. Dinesh Chauhan got in touch with me and I told him to meet me the next day," the complaint read. It further said, "When I told Khambata I wanted to go, he put a knife to my neck threatening to kill me. I spent the entire night scared for my life. The next day, March 8, Khambata again demanded money. When I said no, he pulled my hair, hit me on my head and threatened to throw me out of the window."
"I contacted Dinesh, and when Khambata came to know about it he threw me and my belongings out of his house and left after locking his flat," the woman said. She further stated that she made a call to Chauhan through the society watchman's phone and said she wanted to register a police complaint.
The good Samaritan
Chauhan said, "I came across the post on March 7 night, urgently seeking help. It was quite late, but I sent the woman my mobile number in case she wanted to connect. She called me on Whatsapp and said was desperately in need of help and to meet her the next day," he said.
"I called the police helpline and they told me to reach the woman's location and call them. Meanwhile, the man came to know about it and threw the woman out of the house. She called me from the watchman's phone and I reached the spot as did the police. She was brought to Marine Lines Police Station and an FIR was lodged. Khambata was arrested on Friday morning and produced in court," Chauhan said.
The woman said, "I trusted Khambata as a friend and came with all my savings, but he not only betrayed my trust but also took my money. I am left with only 300 euros." When asked if she had come to India before, she said, "My late father was from Mumbai. He married my mother when he came to Germany. I had visited Mumbai with them when I was only 10 years old."
No help from Embassy
Dinesh claimed that he had tried to seek help from the German Consulate General office in Mumbai, but they stated that if the woman wanted to return to Germany they could provide her all the assistance but nothing else. Dinesh said, "The woman has a ticket to fly back on April 5, but she needs a place to stay until then. She is currently staying at my house. I was shocked by the lack of help from the German Embassy. I feel helpless and demotivated."
The police speak
Vilas Gangawane, senior police inspector of Marine Drive police station said, "The accused has been remanded in police custody till March 12. Preliminary inquiries revealed that he had even assaulted his mother a few months ago, and a complaint was lodged with this police station. The mother is now in Gujarat."
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