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As Officials Dig Deeper, MP's Honey-trap Racket Reveals Too Many Dark Stories, Hides a Few

News18 logo News18 01-01-2020 Vivek Trivedi

The infamous honey-trap-cum-s** racket that shook the central Indian state by storm by its sheer magnitude continues to unravel further scam as investigators dig deeper.

© Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The chargesheet filed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) a few days ago, narrates how Radhika Singh (name changed), a bright student from a poor family, was entrapped by the masterminds of the racket on the pretext of helping her pursue higher studies and get a job.

The girl, now 18, who was enrolled in a college after the gang of women, led by Shweta Vijay Jain, brought her to Bhopal from Rajgarh earlier last year, is behind the bar along with others, including Aarti Dayal, Shweta Swapnil Jain and Barkha Bhatnagar.

The girl told investigators she had come to Bhopal in June this year to get admitted in a college for her graduation. She said her farmer father earned just enough to feed their family of four.

Besides being good in studies, Radhika played cricket and was part of the Under-19 national cricket championship held in Indore some years ago.

During one of her visits to Bhopal, the teenager was befriended by one Abhishek Thakur, who claimed to know about an NGO run by one Shweta Vijay Jain.

Members of the gang already had their eye on the girl, who was in desperate need of money and managed to pursue her to visit Bhopal against the wishes of her parents in June this year.

Earlier, in April this year, the girl had visited Bhopal and stayed at the residence of Dayal and both went to Jaipur to meet one Rajesh Gangele.

When Radhika refused to get physically close with Gangele, Dayal allegedly went ahead and had s** with him.

After returning from Jaipur, the girl went back to her village, but Dayal and Thakur continued to put pressure on her to come to Bhopal and join them. Soon after, the gang started luring their prospective preys by using Radhika as the poster girl.

The girl has told investigators she was forced to have s** with two senior government officers — Arun Nigam and Harish Khare — by the gang members.

Radhika was also used as a trap on now-suspended Indore Municipal Corporation engineer Harbhajan Singh on whose complaint the racket was busted in September last year.

Later, Radhika’s father had also filed a human trafficking complaint against the members of the honey trapping gang with Indore police.

One of the accused in the case has told police how Jain and Dayal had completely transformed the girl in Bhopal — from a simple village teenager, Radhika started wearing branded clothes, using high-end cell phones and her wallet was always full of cash.

Radhika told officers the gang had promised to bear the expenses of her education, offer a flat and help her family financially. They also threatened her of leaking her obscene videos on social media in case she approached police or anyone else.

Meanwhile, the 140-page chargesheet has left more queries than the answers it offered.

The names of journalists, Virendra Sharma and Gaurav Sharma, and Arun Sehlot, owner of a Hindi daily, who allegedly helped the gang extort money from their victims, have been mentioned in the chargesheet, but their statements weren’t recorded.

The accused confessed to have extorted Rs 20 lakh from senior IAS officer PC Meena, but the name of another IAS officer who is said to have paid Rs 1 crore to the gang is missing as the accused told the investigators that they were unable to recollect his name.

Besides, the chargesheet has no mention of call details of the ‘victims’ of the gang, despite the CID having confiscated mobile phones of the accused.

Police also did not question many of the blackmailed men, including one Saurabh Tripathi who had allegedly promised Radhika a job with the cyber cell of the police department.

Another point missed in the chargesheet is the circumstance under which one Puja, who was used by the gang to trap rich men, committed suicide.

Speaking to a national daily, Special Investigation Team (SIT) Chief Rajendra Kumar said the chargesheet is not complete as the probe was underway and if the need arises, Puja’s suicide case would be re-opened.

On the chargesheet skipping the name of the IAS officer who had paid a crore, Kumar said the officer’s involvement is only an allegation and no concrete evidence has been found yet.

The journalists named in the chargesheet haven’t been named as accused in the case till now, added the SIT chief.

However, BJP has cried foul over the issue. Party spokesperson Rahul Kothari said giving out clearly names of those who accepted money and not specifying those who paid the same, raises serious questions.

Law Minister PC Sharma said no guilty would be spared and once concrete evidences are found against anyone, he/she won’t be spared at any cost.

On Monday, state minister Govind Singh had demanded that names of politicians and bureaucrats, if found to be involved in the case, be put in the public domain to set an example.

He sought severe punishment for those holding higher posts, if they are found to be complicit in the case. "People emulate those holding top posts. If the role of politicians or top bureaucrats come to the fore (in the honey trap case), they should be exposed," the minister told reporters.

Singh was responding to a query of some reporters who alleged that police are hushing up the investigation against some powerful persons.

The Indore Police had submitted a 390-page chargesheet with a local court in Indore days ago against the honey trapping masterminds.

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