Sex scandal touches big and powerful in Kanpur
LUCKNOW, Dec 12 (IANS)
The sleaze, the alleged involvement of top politicians and bureaucrats and police collusion. A call-girl racket busted in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur city has all the trappings of a first-rate scandal.
The Special Operations Group of the police nabbed 11 call girls and, more important, their "queen-pins" in a racket that threatens to implicate the big and powerful in India's politically key state.
"While there was nothing unusual about arresting call girls, our true achievement was the arrest of the two brains behind running the racket," gloats Superintendent of Police Ratan Srivastava.
Madhu Agarwal and Usha Trivedi are known to have lured many young women into prostitution. "Young vulnerable girls were enticed in the name of employment or lucrative allurements into the trade. Once they got trapped, there was no escape route," Srivastava said.
"The call girls were being supplied to customers through contact over cell phones provided by Madhu and Usha. The rates ranged between Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 for a day," he added.
A third person, Sushmita Misra, alleged to be a key accomplice of the duo, is on the run.
Sources said that a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer had given Sushmita shelter at his home in Noida in suburban Delhi.
"This IAS officer was not the only VIP named by the arrested women. Wedding photographs of Usha's son contain photographs showing her posing with top politicians and bureaucrats," said a police official.
BLUE FILMS, VIAGRA: Among other recoveries made by the police were blue films, pornographic material, condoms and over 100 packets of Viagra.
It is being rumoured that some of the politicians are ministers in the present Uttar Pradesh government.
"That was perhaps the reason why the local police are under so much pressure to hush up the whole case," the official observed.
A home department official said the racket had the patronage of the local police.
It was allegedly busted because police fell out with Usha and Madhu over the monthly "protection money".
"With the arrests stirring a hornet's nest following revelations of the involvement of influential persons in the affair, there was an underhand move to close the file," he said. But it might not be so easy.
Kanpur-based women's activist Neelam Chaturvedi said the culprits would not be allowed to get away. "These powerful politicians and bureaucrats need to be exposed. So we will urge the prime minister to institute a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the case. Many skeletons will automatically fall out of the cupboard," she said.
The 13 arrested have been chargesheeted under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act. Seven customers caught red-handed from different flats have also been sent to jail.