A special Agra court on Saturday sent a former superintendent of a women’s protection home to life in prison for the unauthorised release of 43 women and eight children who were rescued from a prostitution racket in Allahabad in 2016. The released inmates are yet to be traced.
“Special Judge Anil Kumar sentenced life imprisonment to Geeta Rakesh, 45, in the case on Saturday. She is held guilty of various charges including trafficking, kidnapping and also criminal conspiracy. The court also held her guilty of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act,” said government counsel Subhash Giri.
A native of Etawah, Geeta was lodged in jail since 2017.
“The court examined 12 prosecution witnesses. It has been established that she released 43 women inmates and eight children without permission from any higher government authorities. Police are still trying to trace them,” said Giri.
According to Giri, the case dates back to May 2016 when team of Allahabad district administration and police rescued 67 women and 37 children in a raid.
“They were sent to Womens’ Protection Home, Agra for a year. It was clearly mentioned in the letter that they should not be released till further orders. Following court directives, 22 women and 29 children were released,” said Giri. All children were between five and 15 years. “A day after their year-long term ended, Geeta Rakesh released the remaining women and children without any direction from senior officials. She did not inform Agra administration either.”
“SDM Allahabad, however, claimed that two days before the deadline, a letter was sent to Geeta Rakesh and other authorities of Agra district administration stating that the stay of remaining woman and children had been extended for two more years. SDM also informed Geeta Rakesh about extension of stay on email and WhatsApp,” said Giri. “After coming to know about the matter, an FIR was lodged against Geeta Rakesh in Agra. Geeta Rakesh maintained that she had handed over custody of inmates to their guardian who lives in different parts of the country including UP and Madhya Pradesh. A police team was formed and sent to places mentioned in the protection home’s record. The names of custody holder and their address were turned out to be fake. Later, police arrested Geeta Rakesh in the matter.”