The Special Investigation Team probing the activities of gangster Mohammed Nayeemuddin, who was shot dead on Monday in an alleged encounter, has begun a separate investigation to determine if Nayeemuddin and his gang were involved in human trafficking.
During raids at a house in Shadnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad, and two houses in Cyberabad area, police found 17 children, including four adolescent girls. “They are all Nayeem’s distant relatives and relatives of relatives from extremely poor families of Nalgonda district. They were living in the three houses and were being taken care of by domestic helps and cooks. Although they are related to Nayeemuddin, we will investigate if there was any trafficking and sexual abuse of the children,’’ SIT chief Y Nagi Reddy said.
The SIT also found photographs of Nayeemuddin dressed as a woman. Officials said that either he used it as a disguise to evade the police or he was into cross-dressing.
The 17 children — in the age group of one month to 17 years — have been taken to District Child Welfare Homes, where they are being counselled by members of Child Welfare Committees of Mahbubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts.
“The children are scared and unable to accept that Nayeemuddin is dead. They are in trauma. We are not ruling out sexual abuse,” an official who conducted the counselling said.
The SIT dismissed reports that tribal girls from remote villages of Nalgonda were found at Nayeemuddin’s houses. “Of the 17, three are Nayeemuddin’s own children, three are children of a cook named Afsa and two children are of a care-taker Farzana. The rest all are children of distant relatives of Nayeemuddin or his wife Haseena. They have not seen their parents for several months, so we suspect they were either bought by Nayeemuddin for trafficking or abuse. They hail from very poor backgrounds,’’ the official said. Some of the older children have told counsellors that Nayeemuddin was their uncle, and that they also go to school.
Mahbubnagar Child Welfare Committee chairperson T Sridhar said that of the nine children rescued from Shadnagar, where the alleged encounter took place, three girls are aged 14, 15, and 17. “The rest are all below 9 years age. They have not opened up but I don’t think they faced any abuse, sexual or physical. All of them are healthy and refer to Nayeemuddin as uncle,’’ Sridhar said.
The police are also investigating four missing persons complaints, including those of a woman and her daughter in Nalgonda, and suspect that Nayeemuddin killed them. “We are looking at suspected murders of Nadeem, an acquaintance of Nayeemuddin; Nasreen, a resident of Bhongir; and mother-daughter duo Hina and Cheliya. They were associated with Nayeem but are reported missing for several months,’’ an SIT official said.
The SIT has so far arrested or detained 20 gang members or associates of Nayeemuddin from Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Mahbubnagar, and Nalgonda districts. “We have identified 20 houses owned by Nayeemuddin under various names. The helpline that we started has received 60 calls today from people who were threatened by Nayeemuddin to sell their lands or were victims of extortion,’’ SIT chief Reddy said.
He said that Nayeemuddin kept meticulous records of land deals and cash transactions, payments for his staff and associates.
“Like an advocate maintains his case files, Nayeemuddin jotted down details of land survey number, area, market value of land and how much he paid for it, former owners’ names etc on a piece of paper and attached it to each file. We have found hundreds of such jottings,’’ another official associated with the investigation said.