NRI tycoon’s wife gets 11yrs for abuse

A millionaire’s wife convicted of virtually enslaving and abusing two Indonesian housekeepers has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and her husband has been jailed for more than three years.

Mahender Sabhnani, who was born in India, was convicted in December of counts including forced labour and involuntarily servitude. He was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

The workers testified that they were beaten with brooms and umbrellas, slashed with knives, and forced to take cold showers.

His wife Varsha, who is from Indonesia, received an 11-year sentence. Prosecutors said she was the one who abused the women.

The prosecutors rebutted the defence argument that Sabhnani did not know about it, saying he would have known what was going on in his house and did nothing to stop it. Agreeing with the prosecutors, Judge Spatt observed: ”He’s a success story: The immigrant who came to this country and succeeded in business. He had to know all these dreadful things and did nothing.”

The judge observed that Sabhnani would have known right from the beginning that the women were in the United States illegally. As Sabhnani ran the business from his house, he would have observed the conditions of the women for lengthy period of time almost every day.

Starting from their basement, Sabhnanis built up a multi-million dollars worldwide perfume manufacturing and distribution business. Among their well known products were ”Eternal Love” and ”Attitude.”

One of the Indonesian women testified that she was forced to eat dozens of peppers and then forced to eat her vomit. The housemaids, identified as Samirah and Enung, are living with some Indonesians in New York and learning English to prepare themselves for living in the United States. They were not present when the sentence was pronounced.


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