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Posing as Arab, cop busts sex racket

Police arrested three pimps, while rescuing two women -- one Russian national and a Hyderabad resident -- who are part of an international flesh trade racket

In a joint operation conducted by the Vakola police and cops from the Western Region Special Squad, a high-profile international prostitution racket was busted with the arrest of the alleged mastermind pimp and his two cronies. A model turned actress from Andhra and a Russian national were also rescued in the operation outside a five-star hotel in suburban Santacruz at 2 am on Tuesday.


The women rescued were sent to a shelter.
Pics/Jitendra Mallah, Datta Kumbhar


"All the accused were produced before the Mazgaon court yesterday and have been charged under PITA (Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act). The pimps have been remanded to police custody, while the two girls have been sent to the police rescue shelter," said Sandeep Dhable, police inspector at Vakola police station.

According to the police, the Russian model arrived in India on a tourist visa three days ago and is understood to be a frequent visitor to the country. "She stayed at J B Nagar in Andheri (East). The other woman has worked in a few south Indian films and is a resident of Hyderabad," said Nitin Patil, a police inspector from the West Region Squad.

Ensnared
The cops had received a mobile number of the mastermind from one of their informers. A policeman, posing as an Arab customer from Dubai, called the pimp and requested for the services of a girl. The pimp asked him if he wanted an Indian or foreign national. The customer asked to be provided with both and a deal was made with the location decided as outside the 5-star hotel.


The trio, who worked as pimps, were arrested outside a five-star hotel
in suburban Santacruz


"Our officer posing as the customer stood outside the hotel gate. The three pimps and two models arrived in a car. The girls were shown and the rate was decided at Rs 80,000 for the foreign national and Rs 50,000 for the Indian girl. After the deal was done, we proceeded to arrest all of them," said PI Gyaneshwar Ganore.

However, when the cops were about to arrest the accused they tried to escape, but were nabbed eventually after a chase. "Also there were three more girls in a different car on their way to the spot, but the pimps alerted them about the raid. With the arrest of this pimp there are chances that more high-profile sex rackets will be busted," said Ganore.

The three pimps have been identified as Sameer Shamshad Khan, the mastermind, and his two accomplices Laljilal Mandal and Ganesh Mandal. "The pimps circulated their numbers to taxi drivers, who ply between the airport and star hotels. Interestingly, the Andhra model would speak to potential customers in English on behalf of the Russian, as she didn't speak the language well. This was done to attract high-profile people," said Ganore.

Instant results
Mumbai police chief Arup Patnaik, in a letter dated February 2, pulled up all his assistant commissioners, saying none of them has been acting against prostitution rackets. Chastising the ACPs, Patnaik threatened that those of them, who turn a blind eye to prostitution and gambling, will be transferred or shunted to "unglamorous posts".

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