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Top Politicians, IAS Officers Among Madhya Pradesh Honeytrap Victims While Cong & BJP Trade Charges

Representative image.

Representative image.

According to sources, the racket was active since 2013 and had extorted large sums of money from several people; five women and a man have been arrested in the case

Bhopal: Top politicians and IAS officers are among dozens of people who may have fallen victim to a high-profile honeytrap gang in Madhya Pradesh, police sources told News18 on Thursday, as authorities picked up five women and a man in connection with the case.

The development has triggered a babel in the state’s political circles, with both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP pointing fingers at each other.

A senior police officer from Indore said that a municipal corporation official approached authorities recently with the complaint that a woman befriended him and then shot videos and photographs of him in “compromising positions”. Later, she and her associates allegedly started blackmailing him, demanding money.

Three women and a man were arrested from Bhopal on Wednesday while two women were picked up by police in Indore the same day in a covert operation, said sources. One of the accused was allegedly living in a house that she had acquired on rent from a state BJP leader.

According to sources, one of the women was employed with the Congress social media cell. The male accused is allegedly her husband and earlier worked with her before being expelled by the party.

A court on Thursday sent all the accused in police remand for three days.

Superintendent of police (Govinpdura) Amit Kumar told the media that the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had been interrogating the women. He confirmed that some gadgets found with the accused had “objectionable content” stored in them. However, he declined to reveal more about the case.

Madhya Pradesh minister Govind Singh was quick to blame the BJP for the crimes. “The involvement of a woman leader of the BJP in a racket which blackmailed hundreds of men is a testimony to the character of the party,” he claimed.

Leader of opposition in the assembly Gopal Bhargava, however, said that the matter should not be politicised and law should take its own course. “Being a member of any party isn’t a certificate of criminality or innocence,” he said, contesting the minister’s charge.

Bhargava also said that seeking character certificates wasn’t the responsibility of political parties while extending membership to anyone.

State home minister Bala Bachchan told the media that the matter came to light during a probe sparked by a complaint lodged with Indore police. He declined from naming the people who were allegedly blackmailed, saying the matter was being investigated. The minister assured that the probe would not be politically motivated and anyone found guilty would be punished irrespective of their clout.

Sources told News18 that the gang honey-trapped several IAS and IPS officers apart from politicians, including some present and erstwhile ministers. The racket was active since 2013 and had extorted large sums of money from several victims, including leading builders, they claimed.

The developments come close on the heels of a lewd video featuring a senior IAS officer going viral in Bhopal. Following this, police reportedly intensified a probe into the activities of the racket despite the fact that the officer and other victims hadn’t filed any complaints.

first published:September 19, 2019, 18:52 IST