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Since 1st March, 1999
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Maid ‘raped’ by doc, burnt by wife
- 20-year-old narrates tale of torture in 61-year-old’s Ballygunge house

A 61-year-old doctor, accused of sexually exploiting his 20-year-old domestic help over the past five years after promising to marry her, was arrested on Friday morning after his wife set her ablaze.

The victim managed to run away with minor burns from her employers’ Ballygunge Place apartment — the childless couple live on the fourth floor of a highrise — and later lodged a complaint with Gariahat police station. The doctor’s wife is absconding.

“Vijay Bathwal, an ENT specialist, has been arrested. Since the help was a minor five years ago, Bathwal has been charged with raping a minor. Wife Sumitra, 55, will be booked on an attempt to murder charge,” said Rajesh Subarno, the deputy commissioner of police (south division).

Vijay Bathwal

The domestic, a resident of Joynagar in South 24-Parganas, had written in the complaint that Bathwal had been sexually exploiting her after promising to marry her and bequeath all his property to her.

“A week ago, when the girl asked Bathwal to marry her immediately, the doctor refused to keep his word,” said Subarno. “The maid then revealed everything to Sumitra. Two days later the housewife tried to set her ablaze.”

On Thursday evening, when Bathwal was away, Sumitra started scolding the help for her alleged negligence in performing household chores.

“Then Sumitra suddenly dragged the help by her hair and poured kerosene on her. When she threw a burning matchstick at her, the maid managed to free herself and flee with minor burn injuries,” said an officer investigating the case.

Panic-stricken, the maid was running down the road when some residents stopped her and directed her to the police station. The FIR was lodged around 8.30pm and the victim was treated for burns on her right arm.

Moments after the girl fled, some neighbours spotted smoke billowing out of a window of the Bathwals’ flat and alerted the fire brigade.

“When the firemen came, Sumitra told them the curtain had caught fire and the situation was under control. The firemen left,” said an officer of Gariahat police station.

On Friday morning, a team from the police station went to the apartment and found the doctor alone. He was arrested.

“He pretended as if nothing had happened. The flat was sealed after investigators combed it for clues. Forensic experts, too, visited the apartment,” the officer added.

Cops have been deployed in front of the flat and around the building. Some residents of the highrise said the couple seldom mingled with them.

“The girl was produced before court on Friday and was sent to a government home. Bathwal has been remanded in judicial custody for two weeks,” said an officer.

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