New Delhi— Sonia Kumari, 17 years old when reported missing in the month of February 2023. Sonia hails from a backward community, her family resides in Jhuggi Basti in Aanand Vihar area of Delhi. A family of five now remains of four desperately searching for Sonia.
Sonia went missing in the afternoon of Sunday, 19th February 2023, she used to work as a child caretaker for the Gupta family who resides in the nearby apartments from where Sonia lived. She used to live in her employer’s house 24/7 and used to visit her own house once or twice in 15 days. Sonia went missing from her employer’s place.
The Mooknayak reached out to every person connected with the story and continuously tracked every little detail unfolding in this developing story. During our investigation, we figured out there are multiple loopholes in the story of a girl who apparently belongs to a backward community, and how things are unveiled in the aftermath of the filing of a missing report.
We were able to trace a lot of ambiguity in the case as we dug deeper into the different angles of the story. There are apparently multiple thoughts framing this story as there is a clear example of a mother desperately looking for her daughter, finding no help from the police and lawyers as she also approached the court to intervene in the matter.
Sonia’s father Gyanu has been unemployed for the past 8 years because of his severe illness. He was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis after which he stopped working. Gyanu and Geeta (Sonia’s mother) have three children, their eldest was Sonia (17 years) after which comes Rohit (15 years), and then the youngest Monica (13 years).
Before Sonia went missing Geeta and Sonia were working to earn the daily bread for the family. Sonia wasn’t interested in studies so she dropped out of school after completing her schooling till 7th standard.
In the year 2022, she started working as a caretaker of two children in the Gupta family, and at the time when she went missing, she almost completed 10 months of working in the same household.
Sonia’s employer was Medha Gupta and Rohit Gupta, who now have been separated. Rohit Gupta is a freelance writer and Medha Gupta works in a bank.
Rohit Gupta currently is in the village of Himachal which is his home district. Geeta’s mother told us that he went after Sonia was reported missing. She also alleges that maybe Rohit Gupta has something to do with her daughter missing.
It was Sunday afternoon at around 1 PM and Sonia was with Medha’s family who live in the adjacent building to Medha’s apartment. The Mooknayak met Sonia’s mother Geeta to listen to what exactly happened on that day.
Geeta narrated the incident as she was told by Medha. She said, “Sonia asked for her salary from Medha and said she’s going to a nearby house where I was working to hand me the money, this was the time when she left and didn’t come back.”
At around 4 PM in the evening Geeta got the news that Sonia hasn’t returned to Medha’s house after which she rushed to the Aanand Vihar thana to file a missing complaint. The FIR was filed the same day under IPC Section 363.
While speaking to us Geeta shared that Sonia’s working month used to end on the 20th of every month, and she used to get her salary after the 25th of every month. She said, “How is it possible that Medha had given her salary on the 19th or before that because, in Sonia’s 10 months tenure of working there, she hasn’t got her salary before the due date even once.”
We inquired about how Sonia was as a person from her mother, siblings, employer, and neighbors. All of them had said that she was an introverted girl, although she used to make reels on social media but was really introverted in person and naïve as her age girls would be.
Geeta told us that she went to Medha’s house after Sonia went missing to get her stuff from there to which Medha said she hasn’t taken a single piece of cloth with her but what Geeta got were old clothes of Sonia and not the one’s that she recently bought.
Geeta said Sonia used to tell her each and everything, she was a good kid. Sonia once told her mother that she has been talking to a boy on social media who is her cousin and she wasn’t aware that she has a family relationship with him.
The boy is somewhere from Ludhiana as told by Sonia’s mother. She said, “Sonia came to me and said that the boy proposed to her to marry him to when I said that he is your brother in relation and you can’t marry him to which Sonia agreed and said will not talk to the boy ever again.”
After the incident, Geeta asked Sonia if she wants to get married now as she was to turn 18 years on the 25th of February 2023. Sonia replied to Geeta’s question saying I don’t want to get married for another four years.
Geeta told us that she was very liberal with her children and had asked Sonia to tell her whenever or if she finds somebody that she wants to marry to.
Sonia went to her own house 6 days before going missing and was behaving as always nicely with her all family members. The Mooknayak visited the area where the family lives and inquired the neighbors about the family to which neighbors said the same as claimed by Sonia’s mother that she was an introverted child and wouldn’t step out of her house when she used to visit for some time.
Geeta also alleges that Rohit Gupta can also be involved in this matter as Sonia used to tell her that Rohit constantly asked her to do modeling as she has the right looks for it. She also says that since the time Sonia is missing, Medha hasn’t even called once to ask us about Sonia and when I called her then she used to ask about Sonia’s whereabouts.
The Mooknayak reached out to Medha Gupta to inquire about her side of the story. Medha said, “Sonia was very dear to me, she was like my own child. We used to live like a family and me and Rohit, we never stopped her from doing anything. She was good with sketching so we appreciated her work and said that you can achieve whatever you want in your life.”
When asked about Rohit and her separation and Geeta linking him to Sonia’s missing. Medha quashed Geeta’s allegation saying we separated because we had our own reasons and Rohit is not the kind of person to do such thing or to be involved in such a thing. He was really nice and supportive towards Sonia.
Medha gave us a contact of her house help Neha who has been working since past 25 years in Medha’s mother house and she was the one who got Sonia hired for taking care of Medha’s kids. Neha is apparently in relation to Sonia’s family and she also lives in the same area.
We met Neha and asked her about the incident to which she said that she was there when Sonia took off to go meet her mother in the nearby house.
We also talked to Rohit and Monica (Sonia’s siblings) to know about their terms with Sonia. To which both of them replied that she was very dear to them and used to treat them really nicely.
When Geeta found no help from the police’s side she took the way to court and asked a lawyer to file a status report in the matter. The matter was registered in Karkarduma Court and lawyer Shabana was representing Sonia’s family.
The Mooknayak reached out to Shabana over phone and inquired about what has been filed in court and what developments have happened so far as Geeta wasn’t literate to explain us exactly what has been filed in the court.
Shabana said, “We have filed a status report in the case asking Delhi Police to tell us what investigation have they done so far. We have had several hearings in which Police alleges that Geeta is hiding something from the police and is not cooperative with them.”
Geeta told us that she has informed everything she knew to the police while the FIR was being filed. She alleged that she had have multiple rounds of the Aanand Vihar police station when she was called to ask some or the other information.
In a statement, Geeta says, “We have gone multiple times to the police station before looking for court intervention and every time police used to send us back saying there are multiple girls reported missing, some are missing from 3 months and even 3 years.”
We found no help from the Delhi Police that is when we decided to knock the doors of judiciary to get our daughter back somehow.
After we contacted Shabana, Geeta said that her lawyer called and scolded her that why was she talking to the press adding that you want me to talk to the press also and fight your case also with a nominal fee of 1000 rupees.
The Mooknayak reached out to Investigating officer of the case Aanand Vihar ASI Ravinder Singh to meet in person and discuss the case. We met ASI Ravinder at Aanand Vihar Thana, where he showed us the CDR reports filed for multiple numbers he got hold of from Sonia’s family but every time the report says nil, no number is traceable from the number provided.
ASI Ravinder told us that Sonia’s last phone location was live at Karkarduma Metra Station on the day she went missing after which her number is switched off and untraceable.
While on the other hand Geeta who is constantly calling on her daughter’s phone number in hope that it might ring some day as it generally says switched off now. She says Sonia’s phone was turned on in March and it got full ring when she called but nobody picked up the phone.
Investigating officer directly told us that Sonia’s mother is mad sometimes she gives some number and then she comes with another number.
When asked about Rohit Gupta being in Himachal ASI Ravinder told us that he is sick and has asthma. He said, “Rohit is being called for inquiry but he is really sick and is in Himachal as he couldn’t get fresh air here in Delhi and now is also divorced. He is fighting between life and death.”
We asked ASI if any medical reports were presented by Rohit Gupta of him being diagnosed with Aasthama to which the ASI gave the lamest reply saying, “Villages don’t have medical facilities so he might not be able to get a medical certificate there in his village in Himachal and plus he’s there healing without the medical treatment in the fresh atmosphere.”
Although he said he had asked Rohit Gupta to be present in the next court hearing and if he fails to do so he assured us to summon him with a notice.
Geeta had previously in our conversation alleged that police might be bribed by Rohit Gupta as when the FIR was filed he was present along with Sonia’s father Gyanu and me. Police told me to sit in hall and went inside with Rohit Gupta.
“This is the reason they aren’t bothering Rohit and Medha Gupta and they are only troubling us who are already in a lot of misery as our daughter is untraceable and it’s been more than 2 months. We are being exploited as we belong from the underprivileged section of society. So nobody is really bothered about us,” said Geeta.
ASI Ravinder Singh showed us the complete reports and statements of Medha Gupta who came in with her lawyer when summoned for registering a statement in the Police station.
He also said that Sonia’s parents are pressuring him to look into the case but we as the part of the police system has done enough.
“We have done investigation from our end but parents should also do something on their part they are entirely relying on us and still not providing us the full information. It’s not just the responsibility of police department but also of parents to look after their kids,” said ASI Ravinder Singh.
We have also accessed Sonia’s social media handles and it has raised some serious questions on the Delhi Police’s investigation of the case. We have been told by Geeta and Monica that after Sonia went missing half of her Instagram posts disappeared. Sonia has a private Instagram account with a sizable followers of 2018 and 6 following list with 10 posts as of now.
There is a YouTube link under Sonia’s Instagram bio, we opened the link and found out that there were YouTube shorts posted between 6th of March 2023 to 11th of March 2023. When we asked ASI Ravinder about Sonia’s social media handle, he seemed completely unaware of the information and asked us to show if there were posts made between the mentioned time period. After seeing the videos he said, “Instagram, WhatsApp is a thing in foreign countries and I don’t have my reach till there, so I can’t do anything about the same.”
“I’m desperate to find this girl and shut this case down as it is a trouble for me as we aren’t getting any leads on the case,” Ravinder added in our further conversation.
The next hearing in court is scheduled for 19th of May 2023. While collecting information for the story we met Sonia’s parents a couple of times and all they have to say is that they are losing hopes in both the police investigation and the judiciary.
Sonia’s father said, “It’s difficult for people like us to get justice as nobody listens to us and in contrary blames us only.”
On the other-hand Geeta has totally lost faith in getting any help from the police or even from the court. She’s desperately trying to look for her missing daughter in every possible way that she could. She also can’t leave her work as that is the only source of income for the family. She feels helpless in finding her daughter as where ever she goes everybody blames her be it Sonia’s employer, police or the court.
India, one of the most populated countries, has a concerning amount of missing person cases. According to statistics, 88 women, children, and men go missing every hour; 2,130 people disappear every day; and 64,851 people disappear every month as data from the National Crime Rate Bureau (NCRB) of India suggests.
(This case is still in developing state and will further update the copy with more developments unfolding)
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