(From top) Rathod, Chauhan and Anjana being escorted out of the Thane court on Thursday. (AP, PTI)
Mumbai, March 19: The country has found its Josef Fritzl in a 50-year-old businessman who raped his daughter for nine years through her teens into adulthood believing it would bring financial prosperity to his family.
Kishore Bachhubhai Chauhan, who manufactures and sells radium number plates for automobiles, was arrested late yesterday night along with his wife Anjana, 46, a willing accomplice.
Chauhan, a father of two, raped his elder daughter, now 21, repeatedly for almost a decade on the advice of an astrologer who claimed to possess tantrik knowledge.
The astrologer, Hasmukh Rathod, was in turn encouraged by Chauhan to rape both his daughters, the younger being 15 years old. Rathod has also been taken into custody.
The businessman owned two shops selling automobile number plates at Santa Cruz and Mira Road, a far western Mumbai suburb in Thane district where the family resides.
The elder daughter, whose traumatic life spoiled her studies, did not clear the school leaving exams and chose to manage the family business. Her sister studies in Class X in a local school.
The news came on a day when Fritzl, an Austrian engineer who locked up his daughter as a sex-slave for 24 years in a cellar, fathered seven children by her and killed one of them, was sentenced to life in prison.
Chauhan, Anjana and Rathod face the same fate as they have been booked under Sections 376 (rape) and 377 (g) (unnatural offences) of the Indian Penal Code. A Thane court remanded them in police custody till Friday.
The police said the elder daughter suffered in silence as she was petrified of her father, an extremely short-tempered man, but decided to confide in her maternal uncle when she realised her sister would meet the same fate.
|Josef Fritzl, who has been handed a life sentence for raping his daughter
for over 24 years. (Reuters)
Chauhan and his wife have been consulting Rathod, who was known to Anjana before marriage, for 20 years. In June 2000, Rathod told the couple, at the time going through a rough patch, their financial prospects would improve if the father had sexual relations with the elder daughter, then aged 12.
The girl has said in the complaint that Chauhan and Rathod had sex with her several times over the last nine years with the knowledge and consent of Anjana, said Shashikant Mahavarkar, additional superintendent of police, Thane.
Maithili Jha, the subdivisional police officer of Mira Road, said the couple started their sexual relationship with Rathod soon after marriage.
The Chauhans and Rathod have admitted they were involved in group sex activities before they began subjecting their elder daughter to sexual abuse. Rathod chanted mantras before indulging in sex, and most of the time his Andheri residence was the location for the abuse, Jha said.
The officer said Anjana would herself take her younger daughter to the astrologers house.
Vijay Parmar, the maternal uncle of the girls, said he lodged the case after his elder niece confided in him this week.
She telephoned me on Tuesday night and broke down narrating the story. I informed my elder brother and decided to take the girls to the police, Parmar said.
Chauhan, he said, hailed from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and was known for his fits of rage because of which the entire family was scared of him. But we had no idea the girls were living a nightmare, he said.
Neighbours of the Chauhans at the upscale Golden Nest Phase VI housing society said the family maintained normal relations with everyone and they had no inkling of the trauma the girls had endured.
The girls are being looked after by their maternal relatives who stay in Santa Cruz.
The elder girl looks more traumatised and will require counselling. She was tortured and forced to face the abuse. She talked about wanting to kill her parents. The younger sister has faced abuse once or twice, said Jha.