A minor girl, who had gone missing from near her school nine years ago, was reunited with her family in Mumbai on Friday.
The girl, now 16, was kidnapped in 2013 by a Mumbai-based couple. The police found the girl with the help of an alert woman domestic help, who played an important role in the reunions. The man who had kidnapped her was arrested and his wife has been sent to police custody till August 10.
The girl had gone missing on January 22, 2013, following which her family, as well as the police, had launched a frantic search for her.
Surprisingly, the 16-year-old was found in the vicinity of the home of her original family, a police official said on Saturday.
“The (kidnapping) incident had occurred in 2013 when she was going to her civic-run school. She was walking with her elder brother, who was then studying in Class 4. He was walking ahead of her. But after some time, when he turned back, he did not find her,” the official said.
The city police had launched a search for her and posters carrying her photos in school uniform were also distributed in the area.
Domestic help plays a key role
The 35-year-old domestic help Pramila Devendra, who worked in suburban Juhu, came across the girl, who had started working in the same area like her since the last few months.
“During their conversation, Pooja once told her that she was being harassed by her family members, who were not her original parents. She told her that she had been kidnapped. Pramila then searched on the internet whether any news report about her missing case had appeared anywhere. During the search, she came across the stories and articles about Pooja, following which she informed the D N Nagar police station about her case,” the police official said.
Police swung into action and made inquiries with the girl and found she was the same girl who had gone missing years ago, said Milind Khurde, senior inspector of DN Nagar police station.
Thereafter, police interrogated Harry D’Souza and his wife, with whom the girl was staying for the last nine years.
“During their questioning, it came to light that D’Souza had kidnapped Pooja as the couple did not have a child. After kidnapping, he had sent her to Karnataka for some time before bringing her back to Mumbai,” he said.
DN Nagar police has registered an FIR against D’Souza and his wife Soni, both residents of Juhu Galli, under various sections.
(With inputs from PTI)
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