In a bizarre series of events, the Marine Drive police booked a 103-year-old woman along with her 85-year-old son and 71-year-old daughter-in-law for denying entry to her 75-year-old ailing daughter. The victim, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, and her 55-year-old daughter were made to wait for four hours, even after police intervention.

The  incident took place in a tenancy flat at Chateau Marine on Marine Drive where the Sethi family lives. On June 13, the victim, Urvashi, was discharged from hospital after 28-days of treatment, but was denied entry to her own house.

The Sethi family resides in a tenancy flat at Chateau Marine on Marine Drive, Churchgate. Pic/Satej Shinde

The tenancy flat is originally in the name of A L Sethi, the father of Urvashi, the victim. Urvashi lived in that flat along with her parents—A L and Sumitra Sethi, and brothers—Vinay and Shashi. A L Sethi had mentioned in his last will and testament that Urvashi should inherit the tenancy rights of the said flat, as his other two kids were doing well.

‘Torture on since 1996’

According to Namrata, Urvashi was forcefully sent to a rehabilitation centre in Chennai in 1996. Namrata, who lived separately, came to know about this and brought her back in 2003. In January 2018, Urvashi needed to be hospitalised due to ailments. After she was released from the hospital, the family members did not let her enter the flat. She was finally let inside after Marine Drive police intervened. 

Urvashi Sethi, accompanied by daughter Namrata, being taken to the hospital on a stretcher

Namrata said, “There was a conspiracy to send my mother away. Her physical and mental health deteriorated during the 8 years of exile and wrongful confinement. Meanwhile, a flat in Colaba that belonged to my mother, was sold for Rs 30 lakh and I was told the money was used for keeping my mother in rehab. But I know that the actual expenditure couldn’t be more than Rs 6.72 lakh.” 

“Since January 2018, my mother’s ordeal got worse and the torture started more frequently,” she added, “My maternal uncle Vinay and Nabla, wife of my deceased uncle Shashi, manhandled and intimidated my mother multiple times.” 

The recent event

On May 15, Namrata received a call from Urvashi’s caretaker Anjali Burman that Urvashi wasn’t well and needed medical intervention. Namrata rushed her mother to Bhatia Hospital in Tardeo where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and excess fluid accumulation in her lungs. Doctors allegedly said that Urvashi wasn’t given medicine properly for 2 weeks. 

Urvashi was finally discharged from the hospital 28 days later on June 13. When Namrata took her mother to Chateau Marine, nobody opened the door.

“My own mama (maternal uncle) said I had no rights to enter the house and should take my mother with me. My mother was lying on the stretcher in the ambulance, waiting for 4 long hours, but they didn’t budge,” said Namrata. She added, “How can one behave so inhumanely with their own sibling?” Namrata, accompanied by her lawyer, alerted Marine Drive police, but even cops failed to get the family to open the door. 

Meanwhile, Urvashi’s condition deteriorated again and she had to be rushed back to the hospital. 

Following this, cops have booked Sumitra, Vinay and Nabla under sections 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.

Cop speak

“The victim was living in the said flat for more than 30 years. Denying her entry to the house is against the law. The ownership of the flat can be challenged in the court but the act of the family members was criminal, hence we registered the FIR against them,” said Vishwanath Kolekar, senior inspector.

Victim’s lawyer says

Advocate Varsha Bhogle-Deshmukh, who is representing the complainant, said, “She is a woman and a senior citizen. It is a tenancy property. She was residing and living in the house at the time of the demise of her father, the rightful tenant. She has continued to live in her house for the past 52 years. She was admitted to the hospital from the said house and was disallowed entry after discharge from the hospital. She was made to suffer and stranded in the ambulance for over 4 hours in these COVID times. And her daughter had to make rounds of the police station trying to get help so that she could get her mother to the safety and comfort of her own home. Even neighbours and onlookers have witnessed their ordeal, suffering and plight,” she said. 

She further added, “Her daughter had to appoint private security guards for the protection of her mother in her own house. The situation is that bad and self-explanatory. There are a lot of other very serious cognisable offences that have not been registered against the accused. There were successive attempts by the perpetrators to make it look like the woman succumbed due to natural causes, and that is the reason why her life-dependent medicines were manipulated in the first place. This apart from the harassment, cruelty, physical and mental torture at the hands of the accused.”

The other side

The accused have denied all allegations. Their lawyer, advocate Himanshu Maratkar, said, “These days we are seeing that there is a growing impatience in the younger generation who wait to inherit their family’s properties, and as a result they start bullying the old relatives. In the current case, we are dealing with a 45-year-old woman who is capable of earning her own living and even has her own apartment, and yet she is heckling her 103-year-old grandmother by coming to her house daily. She even pressured the police to file an FIR by falsely presenting the facts, purely with a view to dislodge the old lady from her own house.”

May 15

Day Urvashi was admitted to hospital

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