SINGAPORE — A man convicted of burning his maid’s arm with a heated spatula as she was making thosai for him was sentenced to a year’s jail on Tuesday (17 August).
Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar, 35, also forcefully pulled Vadivel Gowthami, an Indian national, by her wrist and pushed her into her room.
Rajamanickam, a Singapore Permanent Resident and Indian citizen, had claimed trial to one charge of causing hurt by means of a heated substance and one charge of using criminal force on her by pulling her wrist.
Vadivel arrived in Singapore from India to work as a helper in Rajamanickam’s household in April 2018. She was employed by Rajamanickam’s wife and it was her first time in Singapore.
As part of her duties, Vadivel was tasked to clean and cook, care for Rajamanickam’s children by feeding them and taking them to school. She earned $400 a month and worked from 5.30am to 11.30pm each day. She would speak to her family in India on the phone at the end of her work day before turning in for the night.
In July 2018, the victim lodged a complaint with her agent as she felt tired everyday. She made known her desire to return to India, but the agent told her that she was only responsible for finding Vadivel employment. The agent told Rajamanickam’s wife about the complaint.
The wife told the maid to come to her with any complaints and instructed her to continue working in the household.
How the incidents occurred
According to the victim, on 18 October 2018, Rajamanickam returned home intoxicated.
Vadivel then went into the kitchen to make thosai, an Indian pancake, for Rajamanickam. She went to the hall to place a bowl of chutney on the dining table.
Upon returning to the kitchen, Vadivel tried to find the spatula that she was using to make the thosai, but realised that Rajamanickam had it.
Rajamanickam used the spatula to burn her left forearm. The maid finished making the thosais before going to bed.
The next day, the man returned home intoxicated again around 10.30pm. He then asked Vadivel where his daughter was. Vadivel replied that the daughter was at her maternal grandmother’s, and Rajamanickam demanded that the maid bring her back.
Vadivel refused as it was past her working hours, prompting the man to say, “Since (the Ministry of Manpower) had informed you to sleep at 10pm, why are you still awake?”
He pulled her left wrist and pushed her into her room before closing the door.
The victim informed her husband about what had happened, and her husband asked her to return to India.
On 21 October, despite Rajamanickam’s wife asking the maid to stay on, Vadivel returned to the unit to pack her belongings before calling the police.
Apart from the charges he was convicted of, Rajamanickam faces a pending charge of absconding bail which has been fixed for a pre-trial conference in September.
A charge of voluntarily causing hurt with a weapon carries a jail term of up to 7 years, and/or a fine and/or caning. A charge of using criminal force carries a jail term of up to three months, and/or a fine of up to $1,500.
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