Saturday, May 19, 2007


Slavery case: Indian couple to get bail

Dharam Shourie in New York | May 18, 2007 13:30 IST

A United States federal court has agreed to release on bail, albeit with strict conditions, the multimillionaire Indian-American couple accused of enslaving and torturing their two Indonesian maids.

The bail for Varsha Mahender Sabhanani was set at $2.5 million and for her husband, Mahender Murlidhar Sabhanani, at $1 million.

The conditions set include that they would not leave their house except to meet with their attorneys or go to the doctor or for religious services.

The date for the release has not been decided yet.

US Magistrate Kathleen Tomlinson said she did not believe that they would flee if rigorous conditions were set for the bail.

The two have been charged with using threats of physical harm to obtain service.

Prosecutors say they have found incriminating evidence inside their mansion which include a knife used to cut one of the women behind the ear, bloody tissues used to blot blood and rolling pin used for beating one of the women.

Earlier only one woman had said she was tortured but investigators say that now the second one too has reported beatings by the wife.

Meanwhile, The New York Post reported quoting law enforcement sources that investigators were trying to determine whether the couples' four children -- aged 22, 20,

19 and 17 -- also helped their mother in torturing the two women.

The Post reported that their eldest daughter on her website says that her favourite movies include "Human Trafficking," a two-part miniseries that aired on a cable channel in October 2005.

The harrowing drama, starring Mira Sorvino and Donald Sutherland, reveals the brutal torture of young women kidnapped, drugged, raped and sold into sex slavery.

The report says that federal agents had raided the house and among things they took away was a door which was apparently stained with the blood of one of the women who was allegedly tortured.

The two maids, Samirah, 51, and Nona, 46 -- who was allegedly forced to take 10 icy showers in a row -- are recovering in a hospital and will be given special visa which

allows them either to stay in the United States or return home.


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