Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 11:
Guest houses in Chandrasekharpur area of Odisha capital have turned to be safe havens for sex rackets. We found during a recent investigation in the area that rackets continue to flourish because tip-happy cops misuse their power to protect the culprits.
Many of these notorious sex racketeers like Sunil Meher, Papu, Musa and Kuni aunty continue to thrive even after getting arrested many times because the cops press charges that are easier to get a bail on.
The education and software industry hub of the city has gained notoriety for sex trade over the last few years. Seven sex rackets have been busted in the last two years alone. This is, however, only the tip of the iceberg; as cops usually tip off their men in the racket before a raid. Raids are successful only when there is pressure to arrest from seniors or the racketeer is not paying the hafta.
The end result is; racketeers are back in business within days of getting arrested. Nothing proves it better than the fact that Sunil Meher, who has been arrested four times in the past three years, is still active in the business.
While it is mandatory to register all hotels and guest houses, we found out from our investigation that only 11 out of 45 guest houses in the area have been registered. It is usually the unregistered ones where the business flourishes.
The cops are well aware about the presence of these unregistered guest houses. We also noticed lower ranking cops visiting these guest houses to collect the monthly pay-offs for themselves and their senior officers.
A particular constable of Chandrasekharpur area visited seven guest houses within four hours to collect their monthly quota. The guest house managers were also generous enough to pay Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 without hesitation. One of them even went on to offer, “Please let me know if the in-charge needs anything extra”.
At times, girls from interior areas of the state are offered jobs and brought here only to be forced into flesh trade. At others, professionals from West Bengal and illegal Bangladeshi migrants are roped in. Some of them live in the slums of the city. Many others rent apartments and flats identifying themselves as marketing professionals or students. As per reliable sources, some of the actresses of Odia entertainment industry are also involved in the business of sex.
The trade flourishes as the cops keep their eyes and ears shut, even after getting complaints from the civil society. A case in point: the senior citizens’ forum of Maitri Vihar recently lodged a complaint with the police commissioner about the growing sex trade in the vicinity.
The cops, however, preferred not to act citing lack of clues even though the widowed lady who runs the racket there is widely known.