A Delhi court has discharged 10 accused under the stringent Maharashtra Control for Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for allegedly running a human trafficking racket. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Ashish Aggarwal said the prosecution failed to demonstrate that the accused had indulged in “continuing unlawful activity”, and the “approval” to prosecute the accused suffers from “non-application of mind”.
The then Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav had granted approval to prosecute the accused under MCOCA, following which an FIR was filed in 2016. Court records said a “proposal” was prepared by ACP Sukhwinder Singh and forwarded to Yadav, stating that in 2013, minor girls were forced into prostitution and two separate FIRs were registered based on their statements.
The “proposal” stated that the registered owners of the brothel, Saira Begum and her husband Afaq Hussain, had been arrested and had “confessed” to running a human trafficking racket for forcible sexual exploitation of girls. It was alleged that the accused had been involved in the commission of similar offences in the past as well, and had purchased properties to perpetrate the crime. Police had concluded that the accused were members of an organised crime syndicate.
However, the court said: “It does not have ingredients of the offence and yet permits initiation of investigation. The sanction too suffers from the same infirmity.”
The additional public prosecutor (APP) had argued that the case was “fit” for framing of charges, pointing out the statements of victims under CrPC Section 161 to police, and a number of properties acquired by the accused. The APP submitted that the prosecution need not prove the date of commission of organised crime, as it had been committed over a period of 13 years.
Appearing for Afaq Hussain, lawyer Rajiv Mohan argued that the offence required existence of an “organised crime”, and submitted that the prosecution needed to show the commission of a minimum of three offences — with chargesheets filed and cognizance taken for two within a 10-year span — which was not the case.