Officials involved in the investigation said that the CB-CID has begun looking into the illegal Anbu Jothi Ashram in Villupuram, where 142 people who were rescued have said they were raped, tortured, and sold as slaves.
The police station in Kedar village, where eight people, including the couple who ran the institute, were arrested, has given the agency all of the paperwork and cases it had. The case was given to the CB-CID on February 18 because it needs to be looked into in more than one state.
The institute was checked out by a group led by Arun Balagopalan, who is the superintendent of police. Balagopalan said that four cases have been opened because of the complaints. “The CB-CID will soon file a list of charges,” he said.
He didn’t want to talk about the issue of people being sold. “Chains that were used to tie up the inmates and wooden sticks that were used to beat them have also been taken from the home,” said an unnamed district official.
On Monday, the Madras high court told the police to send in a report on what they did because the case will be heard on February 27. A petition for habeas corpus about the disappearance of Zafir Ullah, a 70-year-old man from the ashram, uncovered a web of crimes in this institute. Also, the National Commission for Women is looking into these very serious complaints.
Salim Khan, who lives in the US, asked his close friend, the petitioner, on January 1 to let his uncle Ullah stay in a shelter home because he didn’t have any close relatives. The petitioner got in touch with a man named Mustaq, who set up for Zafir Ullah to stay in the ashram on December 4, 2021.
Later, the petitioner couldn’t find Ullah in the ashram. He was told that on December 6, 2021, Ullah had been moved to another shelter home in Bengaluru. Ullah was hard to find, so the petitioner went to Bengaluru to look for him. On December 26, 2021, a missing man report was filed at the Kedar police station in Villupuram. In January, local police told the court that they are looking into the case. After being moved to Bengaluru, Ullah and 15 other people went missing. This habeas corpus petition was filed based on these claims.
On February 10, a group of district officials went to the ashram because the court told them to. They found that 142 of the inmates were living in bad conditions and that they had been raped, sexually assaulted, and hurt physically.
On February 11, officials saved all 142 people and took them to the government hospital in Mundiyampakkam. In a statement released on February 13, the Tamil Nadu State Mental Health Authority said that their review board had looked at the Ashram on December 12, 2022, and found that it was being run without a licence from their organisation. Section 65 of the Mental Health Care Act of 2017 says that the Ashram broke the law. The Ashram was closed on February 14. On February 15, about 68 of the 142 residents who did not have a mental illness were sent to other government-run homes, and some are getting back in touch with their families. On February 16, a second part of this institute was found, and 25 more people were saved from there. The people there had said they were being beaten very hard.