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20 ‘eyes’, antlers and murderous hands
Torture chamber label on MP home

- Lawmaker, dentist-wife arrested

New Delhi, Nov. 5: An MP’s dentist-wife was today arrested on charges of brutally torturing her domestic help to death, yanking the covers off a 10-month saga of violence playing out within the walls of a politician’s home.

Police said Jagriti Singh, the wife of BSP legislator Dhananjay Singh, branded the help with a hot iron, repeatedly kicked her and thrashed her with wooden antlers till she crashed into a door and passed out on Diwali morning. She died on Sunday night, they said.

The body of 35-year-old Rakhi Bhadra, from Dum Dum in Calcutta, was found at the MP’s 175 South Avenue flat near Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday night. He informed the police the maid had died after falling off the terrace, but not before allegedly destroying footage from 20 CCTV cameras installed at his residence.

The Jaunpur MP, who has 29 criminal cases against him and allegedly runs gangs in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested late tonight on charges of destruction of evidence. According to the Lok Sabha website, he grew up in Calcutta.

Jagriti, 29, a senior resident doctor at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, was picked up on charges of murder and attempt to murder. Both have also been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act for employing a minor boy as a help.

“Jagriti had allegedly been torturing Rakhi and another minor domestic help over the past 10 months ever since she started working for the family,” a police officer said.

“On Monday evening, Dhananjay returned from Jaunpur. Around 9pm, he went to a nearby police outpost and informed the cops about the maid’s death. She was taken to the nearby RML hospital where she was declared brought dead,” he added.

“She had burn marks all over her body and injuries on the chest, stomach, arms and legs. The minor domestic help told us Jagriti beat both of them with a wooden replica of a deer’s antlers that was on the wall.”

The officer said the police team investigating the death was stunned to find 20 CCTV cameras installed in the MP’s house, including the washrooms, to keep tabs on the domestic helps.

“Jagriti was very suspicious. She had installed the cameras to keep an eye on them. The feed from the cameras was available on her iPhone,” he said.

Jagriti and Dhananjay, who married in 2009 after the MP’s first wife committed suicide two years earlier, have a three-year-old son. She had contested the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections as an Independent and lost. Police said there were reports their marriage had soured and divorce proceedings were under way.

When Jagriti was questioned at Chanakyapuri police station this morning, she claimed the maid had fallen off the terrace three days ago but did not deny beating her up, the police said.

“During questioning, she said she had beaten up the helps on Sunday after finding them in a compromising situation,” an officer said.

According to the statement given to police by the minor help, Jagriti tortured him and Rakhi at the slightest provocation, locked them in and threatened that security staff would shoot them if they stepped out of the flat.

“She used to beat both of us often with the artificial deer antlers and brand us with a hot iron,” the boy, who had wounds on his body, told the cops.

Recounting what happened on Sunday, he claimed: “She first kicked and punched Rakhi and then pushed her, after which she got injured with the door handle. Instead of taking Rakhi to hospital, she applied some cream on her wounds and waited for her to come around. But Rakhi died on Sunday night.”

The boy said Jagriti then got scared. She called her husband in Jaunpur yesterday and told him what had happened. He came home by evening and informed the police, he said.

Deputy commissioner S.B.S. Tyagi said: “Rakhi was a resident of Rabindranagar near Dum Dum cantonment. Her 20-year-old son Shahjehan and husband live there.”