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MP Honey-trapping & Extortion Racket: Govt Replaces SIT with New Team within 24 Hours

Representative image

Representative image

A day after the Madhya Pradesh government formed a team under DIG (CID) D Sriniwas Verma to probe the high-profile scam, a new panel, led by ADG Sanjiv Shami was set up.

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Vivek Trivedi

Bhopal: A special investigation team (SIT) formed to look into the honey-trapping scandal that has sent shockwaves across the state has been dissolved and replaced by a fresh panel.

A day after the state government formed a team under Deputy Inspector General (Criminal Investigation Department) D Sriniwas Verma, a new panel, led by Additional Deputy General of Police Sanjiv Shami was set up. It will have Indore Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ruchivardhan Mishra as a member.

The new team comprises eight officers of the rank of SSP, SP, CSP and inspectors and would probe the case lodged at Palasia police station in Indore. A case was filed here on the complaint of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) engineer Harbhajan Singh.

Sources said despite Verma’s unwillingness to take part in the investigation, the state government had entrusted him with the job. On Tuesday, after the former Bhopal DIG made clear his reluctance to take charge of the scam, a new team was formed.

The honey-trapping racket was busted by Indore police after the IMC engineer approached police with the complaint of being blackmailed by a gang. Members of the racket are said to have honey-trapped several politicians, bureaucrats and government engineers in the past and extorted huge sums of money from them.

The racket, busted in Bhopal last week, was reportedly operated by a 48-year-old woman who runs an NGO and made women feign affairs with high-profile persons to extort hefty sums of money. Data recovered from cell phones and laptop of the women revealed that the gang was in touch with about 40 call girls who helped them lure and trap victims.

The civic engineer who blew the lid off the scam has also been suspended after the mayor of Indore asked the Madhya Pradesh government to take action against him. The gang was allegedly demanding Rs 3 crore from the officer for objectionable video clips.

Meanwhile, Aarti Dayal and four other accused in the case were booked for trafficking and sexual exploitation on Tuesday, after another accused woman's father alleged that they pushed her into the racket.

Police registered a fresh FIR against five accused on a complaint of the father of a 19-year-old girl who is among those arrested, said SSP Misra. On the complaint of one Hiralal Yadav, father of Monica Yadav, other five

members of the racket were charged under IPC sections 370 (human trafficking), 370-A (sexual exploitation of human trafficking victim) and section 120-b (criminal conspiracy).

"The gang preyed on girls from the rural background and pushed them into this racket," Misra said.

As per her father's complaint, a man befriended Monica over phone, and later introduced her to Dayal, Shweta Jain and others through social media. His daughter was a meritorious student and had come to Bhopal to appear for the army recruitment test, but the gang trapped her in its net, he said.

Besides the man who used to talk to Monica on phone, a driver's name too has cropped up during the investigation, and a hunt has been launched to arrest the duo, Misra said. The sleuths were also searching for another woman connected with the gang, she added.

Dayal (29) and Monica Yadav will continue to be in police custody till September 28. Omprakash Kori (45), who worked as a driver, and three members of the alleged racket, namely, Shweta Vijay Jain (39), Shweta Swapnil Jain (48) and Barkha Soni (34), are now in judicial custody.

Later in the day, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said he was aware of four-five journalists who are involved in the scam. Soon after, Congress media co-ordinator Narendra Saluja urged Vijayvargiya to share the details with the SIT instead of defaming the entire media fraternity. He further asked the senior BJP functionary to tender an apology for his remarks.

(With inputs from PTI)


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