Top cop is landlord of illegal wine shop too!

DCP Nandkumar Chougule doesn’t just own the premises which hosted a sex spa, but has rented out another of his plots to a wine seller, which has been slapped a BMC notice for illegal constructions

Two days after MiD DAY exposed that a prostitution racket was flourishing within a spa in a bungalow owned by DCP Nandkumar Chougule, fresh controversy surrounding the senior cop is brewing again. Investigations conducted by a MiD DAY correspondent into Chougule’s assets have revealed some even more shocking facts.

The spa under the scanner is not the only one of Chougule’s assets that has the stigma of illegality attached to it. Chougule is also the landlord for a property that hosts a wine shop – Juben Wines – located at Adarsh Nagar in Andheri.

The plot has been slapped a demolition notice by the BMC, owing to illegal constructions erected upon it. This asset too is registered in his wife Madhuri’s name, though the owner of the shop, Juben Sawla, referred to DCP Chougule as his “landlord.”

MiD DAY, in its report on December 28, had published that a raid carried out by the Social Service (SS) Branch of the Mumbai police on December 10 in the Cleopatra Day Spa, located in Four Bungalows, had revealed that it was only a cover for an illegal sex trade racket (‘DCP bungalow home to spa sex racket’).

Investigations for the case had revealed that the property was owned by the senior cop, who is currently posted in the traffic police department.

Curbing under pressure put on it to hush up the matter, the SS Branch had hastily transferred the case to the Versova police station after arresting three women and rescuing seven sex workers.

“The plot was given a demolition notice. You will have to talk to my landlord Nandkumar Chougule, who looks after the property. At present there is a stay on the demolition,” said Sawla.

“We have sent a notice to the owner of the wine shop. The first floor of the building and its front portion have been illegally raised. We are waiting only because of a stay order from the court. As soon as we get a clearance, we will go ahead with the demolition,” confirmed Ramesh Pawar, assistant municipal commissioner, K (West) ward.

After MiD DAY’s disclosure, cops have been conducting a high-profile inquiry on Chougule and the assets owned by his family.

S P Yadav, the joint commissioner of police (administration), has been enquiring into the matter. An inquiry officer for the case has also been appointed by the Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik. DCP Chougule was not available for comment.

Over 200 minors go missing in 6 months


One-fourth of 800 missing are children

THE TRIBUNE / Chandigarh, December 28

In a disturbing trend, a minor goes missing every day in Haryana. In the past six months, over 200 children, including 72 girls, have gone missing in the state, a development which has a direct bearing on the safety of the missing chidren.

In fact, the districts bordering Delhi in the National Capital Region (NCR) seem to be reporting highest number of missing children. The urbanised and crime-prone district of Faridabad reported the highest number of missing children with 45 children reported missing in the past six months. Suprisingly, out of these 45 missing children, 20 were girls. Sonepat with 33 missing kids and Hisar with 23 missing children were the other districts with a sizable missing population below 18 years.

Since June 28,2011, over 800 persons went missing in the state out of which nearly 250 were women above 18 years and over 200 children up to the age of 18 years. In all, over 1,600 children are reported to be missing in Haryana.

Expressing concern at the increasing number of missing children, a senior police official said the rise in number could be the result of the registration of cases in case of the missing persons which was not the case earlier. However, the involvement of the children trafficking gangs in the state could not be ruled out particularly in the districts in the NCR near the National Capital, he said, adding that nearly five minors went missing in Delhi every day.

The disappearance of the children in northern states was cause of concern for the authorities. The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) of the Union Home Ministry recently organised a workshop here to study the problem at the grassroots level and formulate a strategy to tackle the problem.

Meanwhile, data showed that Sonepat, with 40 cases, led the state in case of missing women (above 18 years), a majority of whom were married. Intriguingly, 27 minor boys went missing in Sonepat in the past six months. Similarly, Faridabad with 25 cases of minor boys missing reported 32 cases of women (above 18 years) missing. In Hisar, 34 women above the age of 18 years went missing as compared to 23 cases of minors, including 15 boys, gone missing.

Prostitution racket on premises rented out by DCP, probe ordered



A departmental inquiry has been ordered against a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) from the Mumbai Traffic Police department, after the police busted an alleged prostitution racket operating at a spa set up on an Andheri (West) premises rented out by the officer.

On Thursday, an inquiry was ordered against DCP (Traffic) Nandkumar Chougule, to probe the exact details of how the racket was flourishing on the property rented out by him. “An inquiry has been ordered through Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) S P Yadav,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik.

The matter came to light on December 10, when officers from the Social Service Branch of the Mumbai Police posed as dummy customers and approached Cleopatra Day Spa located in Seven Bungalows, Andheri (West), after receiving a tip-off that it was a front for a prostitution racket.

“After the information received was verified, the SS Branch conducted a raid on the premises, and arrested Saroj Bhakuni, who had taken the premises on rent and set up the spa there. Two of her associates were also arrested and all three accused were booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA). They have been remanded in police custody till December 12,” said an SS Branch officer, on condition of anonymity.

The police also seized Rs 64,700 in cash, a cheque worth Rs 36,000 and two bill books.

“During subsequent investigations, Bhakuni revealed she had taken the premises on rent from DCP Chougule. While it is registered in the name of Chougule’s wife, he allegedly handled the process of giving out the property to Bhakuni on a leave-and-licence agreement,” said an officer from Versova police station, which is probing the case after the SS Branch raid.

Chougale said, “I am ready to face any inquiry and to allow the law to take its own course. The property is in the name of my wife, who is an independent income tax payer. The leave-and-license agreement signed while giving out the property clearly states that if any illegal activity takes place inside, the licensee and not the licensor will be held responsible. In that case, how am I being dragged into this issue?”

“In any case, once a property is given out on rent, it is not possible for the owner to go each day to check what is going on there. For the past two years, there had been no complaints against the spa, and so there was no reason for suspicion and checks.”

Policing: Solving tough crime mysteries




Ashok Takalkar 
The resourceful police constable
A good network of sources and timely inputs help unravel the toughest crime mysteries in seconds. Constable Ashok Takalkar, attached to the Social Security Cell, is a rich man in terms of sources who give him timely inputs.
Out of 53 cases registered under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act this year, in a majority of cases it was Takalkar who provided inputs. Dedicated policemen like him helped rescue many girls who were forced into prostitution and paved the way for the arrest of their inhuman traffickers, who either cheated them by promising them a job or marriage.
Ask Takalkar about his proudest moment and he will talk about the rescue of a minor girl hours before she was forced into prostitution. “The rescue of the 16-year-old Bangladeshi girl who was lured into marriage and brought to Pune was no doubt the proudest moment for all of us. The girl was rescued hours before her trafficker had plans to sell her to brothel manager. More importantly, her so-called husband, a trafficker and one more woman were also arrested at the same time,” he says.
Asked how he builds sources, his answer is: “Interrogation. I contact each and every person mentioned by victims during their questioning and have managed to keep my sources well oiled over the years.” Takalkar, who has completed 30 years of service as a policeman, says it is team work when the rescue operation is successful and says encouragement and guidance from his top officers keeps him going.
Police Inspector Bhanupratap Barge, in-charge of Social Security Cell, said: “Timely rewards and appreciation of subordinate officers provides them with an impetus to work harder, which Takalkar has always followed.”
Social Security Cell score board
Prevention of Immroral Trafficing Act cases
2011: 53
2010: 33
Traffickers and brothel managers arrested
2011: 112
2010: 65
Number of people rescued by SS cell
2011: Number of minors rescued stands at 18, majors at 35
2010: Minors 28, majors 28


Mumbai cops raid bar, rescue 9 girls allegedly involved in prostitution

The officers of Social Service Branch (SSB) on Tuesday night raided a bar in Samta Nagar area in Kandivali (E), Mumbai and rescued nine girls believed to be involved in prostitution and arrested the bar conductor and cashier.

According to assistant commissioner of police, Special Squad, Vasant Dhoble, they received specific information that prostitution was being carried out in Sawli Bar, situated opposite Samta Nagar police station. The police then raided the said bar at 9pm on Tuesday and rescued nine girls allegedly involved in the alleged prostitution racket.

“We have arrested bar conductor and cashier on charges of Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and have also seized cash worth lakhs from the bar. The bar required orchestra license, but the girls who were actually waitresses, indulged into prostitution and obscenity. Cavities were also found inside the bar,” said Dhoble, adding that the bar was owned by a lady.

‘Child trafficking a serious problem’

PATNA: Social welfare minister Parveen Amanullah said on Saturday that trafficking of children for work was a serious problem in the state, specially in the districts falling in the basin of the Kosi, requiring long-term measures to prevent it.

Amanullah, who released the report titled ‘Stolen Childhoods: A Study of Child Trafficking in the Kosi Region of Bihar’, prepared by an organization, ‘Save the Children’, with focus on Khagaria and Araria districts, added that a massive mass awareness drive was the need of the hour.

She said that several social security measures being implemented under the aegis of her department addressed the problems facing families afflicted with poverty and those in the old-age category. Besides, quite a few schemes had been launched for income generation activities in the below poverty line (BPL) families, she said, adding at the same time that trafficking of children, including girl children, for work and other subhuman activities, when they should be at schools, was the most serious problem in the districts concerned.

Among those who also spoke on the occasion were labour resources department principal secretary Vyasji and ‘Save the Children’ representative Alex George. A question-answer session also followed, in which the representatives of participating NGOs and Unicef also took part.

Vyasji said the problem of child labour has been plaguing a number of districts, adding that his department had taken a number of steps to free children engaged in several activities, including as domestic helps, but the problem has continued to plague the society.

He called upon NGOs and civil societies not to engage just in isolated piecemeal activities to free child labour and to prevent trafficking of children, but to launch a concerted “movement” in the state to eradicate both child labour and trafficking of children. “It, of course, requires massive awareness campaign, coupled with addressing problems at the grassroots level,” Vyasji said.

The ‘Save the Children’ report on trafficking of children with respect to Khagaria and Araria districts, which constitute the peripheral areas of the flood plain in the Kosi basin, has noted that trafficking of children in the two districts was of gigantic proportions. A study of 8,252 children encompassing 4,111 households covered in the survey pertaining to the two districts showed that 639 or 7.7% of the surveyed children had been trafficked.

Mumbai: Flourishing Prostitution Racket in Guise of Dance Troupes?



Mumbai: Flourishing Prostitution Racket in Guise of Dance Troupes?

Mumbai, Dec 24:After six girls, being sent to a foreign destination in the guise of a dance troupe, were found to be sent there for being a part of the sex racket there, they were rescued from  the international airport here on Wednesday.

This incident has again brought to the fore the legitimacy of cultural troupes making foreign tours in the name of promoting country’s culture, and helping some of the members of these troupes to illegally immigrate to another country and become a part of an illegal sex racket there.

During this flash raid, ten passports were seized. The policemen found that these girls had earlier visited Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and Singapore. One of the arrested, Sharif Sheikh, was remanded to police custody by a local court till Tuesday next.

The above rescue act was made by the social service wing of Mumbai police. Reports said that the six girls the wing arrested on Wednesday are in fact, not trained dancers, but they were being taken outside the country for sex trade. These girls, the policemen have found out, are being screened and auditioned in studios, before being picked for being part of the flourishing international prostitution racket, which serves affluent clients mostly from Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East.

The policemen had learnt that every month, about 5,000 girls from the country are being ferried out of the nation by rackets helping brothels functioning in foreign destinations.  Many have expressed the suspicion that a number of young girls, who have regularly been mysteriously going missing from their homes in Udupi, Dakshin Kannada and Kerala, and whose whereabouts almost always go untraced, are being used by this racket.

These rackets are active in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, etc. Pimps located in these cities identify and source girls to this racket. In the name of troupes of dancers touring foreign countries, thousands of girls are being taken to foreign countries. These girls never return to country with the troupes, but stay there for some time. It is suspected that these rackets collect huge sums of money for helping these girls to be carried abroad.

Assistant police commissioner, Vasant Daombale, said that these troupes carry these girls on the basis of either the tourist visas or work permits, in which their profession is stated as dance artistes, which are valid for one or two months. He revealed that the girls, most of whom have experience of being bar dancers, are auditioned and photographed in studios in Andheri. They are then picked on the basis of these processes, for being transported to foreign locations. He suspects that this racket’s annual turnover is in thousands of crores of rupees. He said that the girls are being sent in batches of six to ten with a gap of ten days in between two batches, from different cities. He added that the girls are paid about one to two lac rupees before being ferried, after which they get 40 percent of their earnings out of entertaining rich clients. If the girls return later, they work under pimps in the country, he said.