The Mumbai police have claimed that MP and former police commissioner Satyapal Singh’s house at Andheri’s Patliputra Society had been allegedly used to run a flesh trade racket since March 2013. The second-floor apartment had been with India Bulls on a 33-month lease that was to end in August 2014, with the company handing it over to a caretaker in early 2013.
Vakil Raju Shah, 38, the caretaker who was arrested on May 31 based on specific information with the Social Service Branch of Mumbai Police has said during interrogation that he had no knowledge that the house was originally owned by Singh, according to the police.
Singh, a BJP candidate, was pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh from Baghpat constituency and was in the middle of campaigning when his house was being misused, said the police.
During questioning, Shah has said he met one Raja, a “pimp” who offered him extra income if he gave access to the three-bedroom house for a few hours every day, or on days when the owners did not occupy it, said an officer from the Versova police station. Raja allegedly paid him Rs 1,000 every time the house was used. The police suspect Raja may not be his real name and are looking for leads to trace him. At the time of the raid, two girls were rescued from the apartment. The case was transferred to the Versova police soon after the raid.
Singh had claimed earlier this week that he found the entire matter “fishy” and alleged that it was a “planted” probe. Shah has told the police that he first met Raja at a cigarette stall near the building. Raja reportedly gathered details of the house from him in the first meeting itself. The police said Shah told him that the apartment being used by the firm for its official guests had been lying vacant for over 20 days, and also mentioned that the apartment had guests only occasionally.
“Shah told Raja that a day before a guest arrived, the company officials always called him and kept him informed. His duty entailed keeping the house clean and cooking for the guests for the period of their stay. Shah also told Raja that most of the days he was alone in the apartment with most rooms dusted and kept closed,” said a police officer.
It was during the same meeting that Raja allegedly offered his identity and said he could put the rooms to use if he opted to help in the trade. “Shah told us that he was informed by Raja through phone on the days he needed the house. The women would walk with customers and hand his commission while leaving. None of the women or the customers left any contact, with all the dealings always between Shah and Raja through phone,” the officer added.
“Raja is being tracked and we are looking for leads,” said S Parmale, senior inspector, Versova police. Based on the preliminary probe, the officers have got leads on most of the women sent by Raja and they are looking to question them.