Sanjay Sachdev, the founder of NGO “Love Commandos” who earned his spurs for ostensibly protecting couples from harassment and honour killing, has been arrested for allegedly confining, intimidating and extorting money from the couples, residing in his shelter home in Paharganj.
Sachdev was arrested on Tuesday after a woman approached the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Monday and levelled the charges against him, the Delhi Police said on Wednesday.
An FIR under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 384 (theft), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509 (insulting modesty of woman) and 34 (act committed by several persons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at Paharganj police station.
Elaborating on the incident, the DCW said there were four couples residing in the shelter home and all of them are below the age of 25.
DCW officials, including chairperson Swati Maliwal, inspected the shelter home on Tuesday. “Eight men and eight women were forcefully confined in the home. Their documents were taken, and they weren’t allowed to leave the premises. The NGO extorted money from them, physically assaulted the couples and even forced the men to consume alcohol,” said Maliwal.
“They also misbehaved with the women residents. Our team immediately contacted Central district DCP Mandeep Randhawa and an FIR was lodged and the ‘Love Commandos’ founder was arrested,” she said.
Meanwhile, the DCW said the couples were forced to pay around `15,000-`20,000 as ‘fees’ to Sachdev. They were forced to do household chores and odd jobs and the girls used to feel very uncomfortable as they had to always go through the room of the owner to access the toilet and kitchen, the DCW said.
The residents also informed the DCW that if they tried to leave, they would be threatened and made to believe they will be killed. The owner would allegedly also threaten to leak their whereabouts to their family. In order to frighten the residents, the staff would unleash dogs on them, they said.
According to the DCW, the residents disclosed that the NGO founder would often get drunk at night and would misbehave with the girls and would force the boys to drink alcohol with him.
“If anyone was suffering from any illness, the staff refused to take them to a doctor. A boy, who contracted typhoid thrice in his stay at the home, informed us that he was not given proper medication,” the DCW said.
“One of the couples mentioned that their family has been trying to get in touch with them and is ready to have them back home but the owner wouldn’t let them leave the shelter home,” the DCW chairperson said.
“The couples facing the threat of honour killing in our nation undergo immense trauma. For an NGO to abuse these vulnerable young persons in the name of helping them is extremely shameful and tragic. I am happy that DCW intervened in the matter and rescued these young adults from the horrific abuse. We shall provide all necessary assistance to them and will support them throughout” Maliwal said.
Thursday, 31 January 2019 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi
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