A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Haryana on Friday sentenced three people to life imprisonment for sexually abusing destitute people at a shelter in the state’s Rohtak city, PTI reported.
Jaswanti Devi, the woman who ran the shelter, her son-in-law Jai Bhagwan, and a driver named Satish were jailed for life. Devi’s brother Jaswant Singh received a seven-year prison term, while the sentences of three people – Devi’s employees Sheela and Venna, and daughter Sushma – were set off against the time they had already spent in prison. Two people were released on probation. The court acquitted a former child development project officer who used to oversee the functioning of the shelter.
The CBI court convicted the accused on April 18 after trying them on the charges of rape, abortion without consent, unlawful compulsory labour, criminal intimidation, and criminal conspiracy. They were also tried for violating the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act and the Juvenile Justice Act, according to the Hindustan Times.
The case dates back to 2012, when three girls escaped from a government-funded shelter called Apna Ghar. They complained to the police that the people who ran the home abused the people living there physically and sexually, and used them as bonded labourers. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights then rescued around 20 people from the shelter, and the police arrested 10 people in the case. It was later transferred to the CBI. The state government sealed the shelter in June 2012.
The convicts’ lawyer said they would appeal the judgement in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.