“Aunty has gone downstairs and locked her door. She asked me to sleep in the driver’s room. I don’t want to go there. I sat on stairs instead for two hours. Please take me with you, I don’t like it here.” These were the last words a 17-year-old domestic worker said to her foster mother, on 4 October at around 4.30 pm. The daughter was calling from her employer’s landline. It had been hardly a week since Kusum, the foster mother, had arranged work for her foster daughter, at a two-storey house in Delhi’s posh Model Town locality. The employer was Drupadi Bansal, a senior citizen. Kusum, who is her in thirties, had been working as a maid in the area for a long time. Her foster daughter was responsible for taking care of the old lady.
A few hours after the call, Kusum arrived at Drupadi’s home, only to find it overrun with police personnel. She was led to a room where Drupadi’s driver stayed. There, she found her foster daughter’s body hanging from the ceiling. When she examined the body, Kusum noticed boils on the teenager’s hands, and injuries on her back.