A Delhi court has awarded Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban (35), accused of trafficking a 12-year-old girl for prostitution, a 24 year-prison sentence, observing she “has no right to live in civilised society” and “crossed all limits to be called a woman and deserves severest punishment provided under the law”.
Punjaban, who as per court documents is a habitual offender, was facing trial for the trafficking of the minor girl. The child was initially kidnapped by co-accused Sandeep Bedwal (41), who was also convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He has to pay Rs 65,000 while Punjaban has to pay a fine of Rs 64,000. This is the first time she has been convicted in a case.
The court said the girl was sexually exploited for three-four years at the hands of several offenders, and if Sandeep had not kidnapped her, “perhaps the ordeal would not have happened”.
The victim was then sold to Punjaban, who confined the girl, administered drugs to incapacitate her, and sold her for prostitution. After keeping her for 3-4 months, the minor was sold to her associate, Lala from Lucknow.
While sentencing Punjaban, Additional Sessions Judge Pritam Singh observed she “not only purchased a victim for prostitution but she also brutalised her to make her surrender to her demands. She forcibly administered drugs to the victim so that she could not resist a customer… The modesty of a woman is next to her soul. How a woman can outrage and brutalise the modesty of another woman, who is a minor, in such a horrific way? The shameful deeds of Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban deprives her of any lencieny from the courts. A person, irrespective of gender, who does such horrific and terrible acts, has no right to live in civilised society and for her the best place to live is within the four boundaries of the jail. The convict crossed all the limits to be called a woman and deserves severest punishment provided under the law.”
The court also ordered a compensation of Rs 7 lakh along with the Rs 2 lakh interim relief already granted by a court order on June 4, 2019, saying, “The victim was deprived of the company of her parents, siblings and friends that a child requires most in her childhood”.
R M Tufail, Punjaban’s lawyer, had urged the court to grant her leniency considering her husband was murdered and there was no one to look after her minor son, her 60-year-old mother and her HIV-positive brother. She has already been in custody for over two years.
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