A 30-year-old mother of two from Kolkata, who had been pushed into the flesh trade, was rescued by cops in just six hours, after she managed to call them and convey the only three bits of information she had managed to gather the name ‘Foras Road’ and the car and tree she could see from the window of the room she was locked in
Foras Road, a black car gathering dust, and a tree. These were the only clues a 30-year-old mother of two from Kolkata, who had been lured to the city with the promise of a high-paying job and then pushed into prostitution, was able to whisper to an officer from the police control room around 3 pm on Thursday.
This Black car and tree was what the woman could view from the room she was locked in. Pics/Satyajit Desai
Then, the much-maligned Mumbai Police did the unexpected. Displaying an extraordinary spark of brilliance, a team from the Social Service branch tracked down and rescued the woman and nabbed three people responsible for her plight all in a matter of six hours.
The woman, who is from Kolkata, told the police she could also see a restaurant from her window, but couldn't tell them its name as she can’t read English or Hindi
What’s more, the woman would never have known where she was, had the police not carried out a raid in Lamington Road a week ago, forcing pimps to shift her. It was while she was being shifted to the new location that she heard her agents give ‘Foras Road’ as their destination to a cabbie.
Around 3 pm on Thursday, the Mumbai Police Control Room (100) got a call from a woman who whispered that she was in trouble. The call was answered by Assistant Police inspector Shashidharan Vadhunpatta, who is in charge of the Control Room.
The woman told Shashidharan that she had been promised a job with a handsome salary, brought to Mumbai from Kolkata and then forced into prostitution about two months ago. She said she was locked in a room, but did not know her location.
“I can see a black car from my room, which has dust on it, and a tree next to it,” she told Shashidharan. The API then asked the woman to give at least some sort of address and the girl could only whisper “Foras Road”.
Swinging into action
“Shashidharan informed me about the call a little after 3 pm. I informed my Deputy Commissioner of Police, Pravinkumar Patil, of the Enforcement department about it,” said Senior Inspector Jagdev Kalapad of the Social Service Branch.
DCP Patil then asked Kalapad and his team, comprising police inspectors Raja Bidkar, Vilas Datir and Sanjay Salunkhe and constables Redekar, Shitole and Avhad, to leave for Foras Road, which is a red-light area in Mumbai Central, immediately “We only had three clues; a black car with dust on it, a tree and Foras Road.
I had told them to comb the road which is around 1 km long for the car and the tree,” DCP Patil told mid-day. The cops, who were in plainclothes, fanned out across the crowded road looking for the clues.
“We had decided that whoever spotted the car and the tree would discreetly inform the others to come there and only then would we search the probable building as we were sure that pimps would try to prevent us from entering,” said Inspector Datir.
Around 8.30 pm, Inspector Bidkar and a constable found a dusty black car, which matched the description, parked next to a tree. Bidkar then informed the other team members and they began to look for buildings where the woman may have been held.
They learnt that some agents had locked up a few women on the first floor of Banaras Chawl, which is located opposite the tree. “When we tried to enter the building, some agents tried to block our way, but we forged ahead and found the woman locked in one of the rooms,” said Kalapad.
The team rescued the woman and arrested three of the agents. Until yesterday, they had managed to arrest Raju Anthony, who had brought her from Kolkata, and Matlu alias Vinod, the ‘buyer’.
Anthony's associates Bablu Yadav, Ganesh Rajat, Manju Gadu and Raja Thakur are also in the custody of the Nagpada police, to whom the case was transferred. The accused have been booked under Sections 376 (Rape), 370 (Buying or disposing of any person) and 343 (Wrongful confinement).
When they spoke to the woman, the police realised that she had managed to learn her location only because of a Social Service Branch raid in another part of the city about a week ago.
“Last week, the Social Service branch had carried out a raid in Lamington Road area. The woman said she was there when we raided the place, but Anthony and Vinod managed to whisk her away,” said Datir.
They asked the taxi driver to be taken to Foras Road and that was the only clue the woman had managed to get as to her likely location.
The woman told the police that she had managed to make the call to the 100 number using a customer’s phone. She said she could also see a restaurant from her window, but couldn’t read the name.
3 pm: Mumbai Police Control Room gets a call from the woman that she is in trouble and has been forced intro prostitution
3.10 pm: The control room officer informs the concerned DCP about the call
3.20 pm: The inspector of S S Branch informs his seniors about the information and asks for permission to conduct a rescue operation
3.40 pm: A team of policemen in plainclothes gets ready to leave for Foras Road
4.30 pm: They fan out to look for the car parked next to the tree
8.30 pm: Inspector Raja Bidkar and a constable find the car
9 pm: The woman is rescued
11 pm: She is handed over to the Nagpada police