Cops bust sex racket in Bhiwandi; three arrested
A 20-year-old Bangladeshi national, who was forced into the flesh trade, was rescued on Thursday night following joint action by officials from Anti-Human Trafficking Cell (AHTC) of Thane Crime Branch and members of NGO Rescue Foundation.
Shahid Ansari (left), his wife Daliya and their Bangladeshi agent Babuali Azgar Khan (right)
Cops rescued the woman from Bhiwandi and arrested three people — a couple and a Bangladeshi national. Prima facie investigation revealed that the girl was brought to Mumbai with the promise of a job in a posh hotel. Though the rescued woman claims to be an adult, cops suspect her to be a minor. As per the protocol, the girl was sent for a medical test.
The accused were identified as Shahid Ansari (29), his wife Daliya (24) and Babuali Azgar Khan (40), the couple’s Bangladeshi agent. The trio was arrested after the police raided room number 1 of Sona Mhatre Chawl near Shankar Mandir at Bhiwandi Bypass around 11.45 pm on Thursday. Also, a search operation has been launched to trace another flesh trade victim.
To the rescue
“We received information that a minor had been brought from Bangladesh and was about to be sold. We rescued the girl with the help of the police and nabbed the culprits,” said Nitin Mungekar, investigating officer, Rescue Foundation.
He claimed Khan lured the victims with the promise of a job at a posh Mumbai hotel. “Though the rescued woman claims she is 20, we suspect she is 17. The girl claimed she and her friend were brought to Mumbai seven months ago. She was taken to different parts of Maharashtra and forced into prostitution. The Ansaris had planned to sell her on Thursday. They would torture her whenever she refused to work at dance bars. Medical inspection revealed injury marks on her legs. Her buyer fled the spot the moment he got a whiff of the raid. While the accused claim they have sent the other girl back to her village, the reply from the girls’ family in Bangladesh was negative. We suspect that she has already been sold,” Mungekar said, adding that the court has asked the cops to make arrangements for the rescued girl at a Kandivli shelter home.
Mungekar said the rescued girl claimed the couple would keep her locked in a room and assault her when she refused to entertain clients. “After she refused to go to dance bars, they started inviting clients at their Bhiwandi residence. This had been happening for 2 weeks,” he added.
“We confiscated Rs 38,300 and three cellphones from the house. A case has been registered against the trio at the Kongaon police station under Sections 366 (B) (Importation of a girl from foreign country) and 370 (2) (offence of trafficking) of the IPC and other relevant sections of the Immoral traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport Act, 1957. The accused were produced in the Bhiwandi Court yesterday and were remanded in police custody for seven days,” said Senior Inspector Shakeel Shaikh, AHTC.