1 SOS call, 72-hr police chase lead to woman's rescue from brothel
The Mumbai police used ingenuity and caution to track down and rescue a 24-year-old woman from a brothel in three days, with her name and phone number serving as their only leads
In a case that could justify its comparison with the Scotland Yard, the Mumbai police answered a 24-year-old woman’s distress call and, despite having just two clues, tracked down and rescued her from a brothel in Grant Road in three days. Her captors were nabbed and put behind bars.
On August 21, a constable, attached to the office of the Joint Commissioner of Police Sadanand Date, received a call from a woman who identified herself and narrated her ordeal of being held at a brothel against her will and forced to sleep with strangers at the threat of torture. The woman, who is from Kolkata and worked in Nashik before being pushed into the flesh trade, could not describe her location to the constable.
On August 21, the victim called up a constable at the office of Jt CP Sadanand Date, but couldn’t tell him her location
Without wasting a moment, the constable informed Date, who forwarded the case to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement) Pravin Patil. “The case was sensitive. Even a silly mistake could have endangered the life of the woman. So, I handed over the case to a former crime branch officer, who had recently been transferred to the Social Service branch,” said Patil. The case was transferred to Inspector Vilas Datir.
The police retrieved call detail records of the victim’s number and found out that a driver from Malabar Hill had called her
Needle in a haystack
With only the victim’s name and number to go on, Datir asked the constable to call up the woman again and try to get as many details as possible. When the call proved futile, the police retrieved the call detail records (CDR) of the cellphone number the victim had called from.
They nabbed the driver, who had been the victim’s customer, and he told them she was at a brothel in Grant Road
“We procured the CDR of the number and made a call to the person who had made the minimum number of calls to the phone number. If we would have chosen the number with the maximum calls, there was a possibility of the number belonging to the brothel keeper or one of his agents, “ said Datir.
On August 24, the driver was asked to pose as a decoy customer and when he confirmed that the victim was inside the building, a police team rushed in
The cops found that the phone number with the minimum number of calls belonged to the Malabar Hill-based businessman’s driver, who was the victim’s customer at some point. A plainclothes constable was dispatched to locate the driver and the police hit a jackpot when they found him. The driver told the police that the victim was held at a brothel in Dinshaw Mansion near Congress House, Grant Road.
The victim and three other girls were rescued and the brothel owner and a pimp were arrested
Set up and raid
The police convinced the driver to pose as a customer and help them confirm the victim’s presence in the brothel, before going ahead with the raid at Dinshaw Mansion on August 24. “After the driver gave us the green signal, the Social Service Branch team, which was waiting outside the brothel, barged in and began the raid,” said Datir.
The victim was successfully rescued, as were three other girls, and they were sent to a rehabilitation centre. The brothel keeper and a pimp were arrested from the spot, and handed over to the D B Marg police.
In her statement, the 24-year-old victim told the police that she is originally from Kolkata. She had gone to Nashik to look for a job and had found one as a maid at a businessman’s house.
During her stay in Nashik, the victim met two men, who identified themselves as Aslam and Murthy, through a common acquaintance, and they promised her a better-paying job in Mumbai. Lured by the prospect of more money, she rushed to Mumbai with the duo a month ago.
Even before the victim could figure out what was happening, however, the duo sold her to a brothel, where she was forced to entertain customers. The victim alleged that whenever she refused to do so, she was tortured by the brothel owner and the pimp.
She said she had received the number of the constable from one of her customers a few days ago, and that is how she ended up making the call to the police on August 21. The D B Marg police are now searching for Aslam and Murthy, who are believed to have sold many other girls to brothels in Mumbai.
Inspector Vilas Datir, Social Service Branch
We procured the call detail records of the number and made a call to the person who had made the minimum number of calls to the phone number. If we would have chosen the number with the maximum calls, there was a possibility of the number belonging to the brothel keeper or one of his agents.