New Delhi: Delhi Police has arrested a couple and their six associates in connection with a vast network of human trafficking and prostitution racket in the red light area of G B Road in the heart of the national capital, booking them under provisions of the stringent MCOCA Act.
The raids and arrests by a team of Crime Branch was led by DCP Bhisham Singh on August 25 after a thorough study which revealed that more than 80 per cent business at G B Road (now Shraddhanand Marg) is controlled by 2-3 operators who have their own network of agents, said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch).
The couple is accused of trafficking over 5000 girls from Nepal, West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka and other states in India.
"The husband-wife duo Afaq Hussain and Saira Begum were identified as such operators who controlled everything closely through their handpicked Kotha managers known as 'Nayikas' and musclemen," said the officer.
The Crime Branch team in raids at different parts of the city arrested Afaq Hussain, Saira Begum, Ramesh Pandey and Vasudev Pandey on August 25.
Another round of raids led to four more arrests of accused Pooja, Shamshad, Shilpa and Mumtaz on August 28. One of the main accused and muscleman of the racket Sarfaraz alias Billi is absconding, said the officer.
"In order to curb ghastly activities of this syndicate of human trafficking and prostitution operating at G B Road, Crime Branch has launched massive action and has invoked provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against them for the first time ever," he said.
The husband-wife duo Afaq and Saira controlled trafficking and prostitution syndicate with the help of accused Shamshad, Mumtaz, Shilpa and Pooja who worked as Kotha managers. They were paid 15 per cent of the monthly earnings which runs into crores. Sarfaraz provided muscle power to the whole syndicate.
Investigation showed that prior to their arrests in similar cases in 2013, Afaq used to purchase Kothas in the name of Saira but they later transferred ownership titles to some of their confidants.
The Crime Branch study of crime pattern revealed that girls from different states of the country and Nepal, most of them minors, were victims of this racket. They are sold to the Kotha owners at G B Road at the rate of Rs 1-2 lakh.
"The young girls are thrashed, confined in hidden cells, intoxicated and kept starved for many days to force them in sex trade. The Kotha operators recovered monthly 8-10 per cent of the amount as well as interest on it which was spent on buying them," he said.
Accused Saira who hailed from Andhra Pradesh used to be a sex worker at the Kothas that she later owned. She was arrested several times in the past while her husband Afaq who hailed from UP was also arrested previously by the police.
Police unearthed properties and bank deposits to the tune of several crores besides four luxury cars owned by the couple. They possessed four properties in Delhi and two in Bangalore apart from indirectly owning portions of half a dozen Kothas on G B Road, he added.