Mumbai, Sep 14: Ailing, and on deathbed two years ago, Yogita Kale (30) handed over the custody of her three daughters to a trusted friend, never imagining even in her wildest dreams that they would be thrust into the murky world of crime.
The friend, Shubadra Ingle, 40, exploited the girls, forcing them to steal things from houses, pedestrians and shops for over a year.
Ingle’s luck ran out on Wednesday night when Mahim police arrested her along with the girls — two of them being minors. They recovered three laptops, high-end mobile phones, a mangalsutra and other gold ornaments including bangles, chain and rings.
While Ingle and the eldest sister, Sujata Kale, 19, have been remanded to police custody till September 17, the two minor girls, Neeta and Archana (names changed) have been sent to the Umerkhadi Observation Home in Dongri.
“Ingle exploited the three and forced them to con unsuspecting people,” said Jaywant Chavan, police sub inspector, Mahim police station. According to police, Ingle picked on houses in isolated areas of the Bandra-Andheri-Juhu belt.
Ingle would zero in on houses with open doors so the girls could enter easily. “She would wait outside for the girls to come back and hand over the stolen valuables. She would even frisk them to ensure they handed over everything,” said Chavan.
“During interrogation, one of the minor girls said that Ingle would spank them if they tried to hide. They seemed scared of her,” said another police official.
Ingle and Neeta lived with her husband in Kurla while Yogita and her husband Rafique lived in Mumbra. Archana, the youngest of the trio, lived with her aunt in Mumbai Central.
Police officials now plan to interrogate Ingle to find out whether she was operating a larger network by employing a bigger group of minors.