Late on Wednesday, the Mysuru Police Commissioner A Subrahmanyeswara Rao suspended five police officers for their alleged involvement in a sex trafficking racket, including officers Ravi Kumar, Krishne Gowda and Manju and two station staff members Sanappa and Diwaker. They have been accused of accepting bribes regularly from the ring leader of the sex trafficking racket – based on a diary that was allegedly being maintained by her.
The police rescued three women and have sent them to state-run shelters.
On July 28, two special police teams lead by DCP Dr Vikram Amathe and ACP Gajendra Prasad, raided two beauty salons in Mysuru city and arrested three persons in connection with an alleged sex trafficking racket.
The police raided Chandana Beauty Parlour located near Vijayanagar Water Tank and Aishwarya Beauty Parlour and Spa in KHB Colony in Hootagalli.
Police say that both the beauty parlours were fronts for a sex trafficking racket, owned by Hemavathi alias Sanjana. The police arrested Hemavati and two of her accomplices, Doddasidda and Chikkasidda. They have been booked under sections of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act and criminal intimidation.
The police recovered a car belonging to Hemavati, 10 mobile phones, 15 SIM cards, several diaries and a swiping machine.
A local NGO – Odanadi, which had been receiving complaints from residents regarding the activities in the two beauty salons, approached the Police Commissioner AS Rao and DCP Vikram Amathe.
“The NGO persons informed us about the alleged racket and teams were formed to rescue the women in the beauty parlours,” police said.
The rescue teams also found that there were several mentions of police being paid by Hemavati in her diaries.
“The diaries had mentioned that Rs 7,000 was given to CCB per month and Rs 10,000 to police constables per month. This brought out suspicion that the police had continued to allow the operations of the beauty parlour to go on even though they had knowledge about its activities,” the police said.
The investigators also recovered several videos from Hemavati, which she had used to blackmail the victims.
“Hemavati targeted women from other states who were from the lower economic background and came to Mysuru in search of a job at beauty parlours. She forced them into sex trade and recorded it. She used these videos to blackmail the women into staying silent. She threatened to upload it online if the women went to the police,” police sources said.
Upon interrogation of the CCB personnel and the constables attached to the CCB station, the investigators suspect that the five officers may have taken money to allow the sex trafficking racket to operate.
“They have been suspended pending investigation. If their role in the racket becomes clear, arrests will be made,” the police said.
Police sources say that if the customers in the video can be traced, they too will be arrested. “It is very difficult to track down all the customers. Besides, if anything valuable is found in the diaries, action will be taken,” the source added.
Meanwhile, Mysuru Police Commissioner AS Rao has said that a special Central Crime Branch team will be formed to investigate sex rackets in the city as the number of such incidents have increased in Mysuru.
Commissioner Rao said that local residents had complained about an alleged sex trafficking racket at a tattoo parlour on Narayana Shastry Road and that the police had also raided a Yoga Centre on Rama Vilas Road on July 28 and rescued seven girls from Kerala and Maharashtra.