Dhananjay Singh (top); and wife Jagriti outside the court on Wednesday. Pictures by PTI and Prem Singh
New Delhi, Nov. 6: MP Dhananjay Singh and wife Jagriti were today remanded in five days’ police custody by a Delhi court, which held that the “offences” they were accused of were very “serious” in nature.
The couple, who sat in the courtroom without any hint of remorse on their faces, were arrested yesterday after their maid Rakhi Bhadra, a resident of Calcutta, was found tortured to death in their flat near Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Police told the court the couple were also accused of torturing another domestic help, Meena, a resident of North 24-Parganas in Bengal. The 37-year-old has been working for them since November 2012 and is being treated at a hospital for burn injuries.
“The alleged offences are of very serious nature and the accused persons were only arrested yesterday… for the recovery of the case property and in aid of the investigation, five days police custody remand is desirable. Accordingly, both the accused are remanded in police custody till November 11,” the magistrate ruled.
The police told the court the horrific nature of the torture inflicted on Rakhi, 35, on Diwali morning by the MP’s dentist-wife had sent ripples of shock across the country. The maid’s family landed in Delhi late tonight.
Dhananjay has been charged with destruction of evidence and obstructing investigation and his wife with murder and attempt to murder. Sections of the Juvenile Justice Act have been slapped on the duo for employing a 17-year-old male help.
Based on the minor’s statement, the police told the court: “Jagriti had been torturing Rakhi and the other two helps for several months on petty issues.
“On Diwali, she branded Rakhi with a hot iron, repeatedly kicked her and thrashed her with the wooden replica of a deer’s antlers that was on the wall of her residence. She also thrashed the boy as well as Meena.”
The minor boy was produced in the court today. He showed the judge the severe injuries on his body as Dhananjay and his wife looked on without remorse.
Additional public prosecutor Mukul Kumar said Meena was severely injured and in hospital. He said the helps were beaten up with wooden sticks, iron rods, iron press and even metallic deer horns.
Recounting the boy’s statement, the police continued: “Jagriti allegedly told the minor help not to disturb Rakhi as she was asleep. She claimed she had given her an injection to sleep and heal.
“The minor alleged that Dhananjay Singh started removing CCTV cameras installed around the house soon after returning from Jaunpur on Monday evening. He also warned the staff against revealing anything to police.”
As Meena was crying in pain, he sent her to a relative’s place, the police said. He then destroyed the CCTV footage before informing the police that Rakhi had died after a fall from the terrace.
The police, who are awaiting the post-mortem report, suspect that physical torture for days and lack of proper medical attention had caused Rakhi’s death.
Seeking seven days’ custody of the couple, the police said they would have to recover the weapons of torture, including an iron press, and try to retrieve CCTV footage.
Dhananjay’s counsel Hariharan said the MP had nothing to do with the alleged murder as he had not been in the flat at the time.
“My client was in his Jaunpur constituency in east UP. When he got information about the maid’s death, he immediately rushed to Delhi and informed the police about it,” he told the court.
“Dhananjay has already filed a divorce case against Jagriti and the matter is pending before a court.”
He said his client had handed over CCTV footage to the police. The police, however, claimed the footage was not working.
Dhananjay has 29 criminal cases against him in Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested in December 2011 in a double murder case.