The Mumbai Police last week rescued a woman who had been reportedly smuggled to Rajasthan by a gang under the pretext of being given a job, and then held for ransom. Six people were arrested in connection with the incident.
The accused were identified as Vivek Jagind (22), Mukesh Jagind (37), Krishna Kumar (33), Pravinkumar Jagind (33), Kavita Jadhav (35) and Rekha Nikam (45).
The 40-year-old woman, who lives with her husband and children in Kurar, Malad East, had last month approached Nikam, a local agent, to ask if she could get her a better paying job. The police said the woman had been working as a housemaid in the locality and was unhappy with the money she was earning.
Nikam then reportedly told the woman she could earn a lot of money working for a catering company in Gujarat for a month. “Initially, the woman was hesitant to leave her family…but Nikam managed to persuade her…” said Babasaheb Salunke, a senior inspector at Kurar police station.
On November 5, Nikam allegedly took the woman to Gujarat and kept here in her home for four days, before taking her to Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan. There, the woman was introduced to three other men, and was threatened that she will be murdered unless she agreed to marry one of them, police said.
The woman was forced to marry Mukesh, who is a local from Jhunjhunu, on November 18. Police said the woman pleaded to be let go, and was informed by the men that Nikam had sold her to them. She allegedly attempted to escape on December 1 when the accused refused to let her go. They brought her back to where they were staying and hit her, while one of them raped her,Salunke said.
He added that on December 2, Vivek Jagind contacted the woman’s family and demanded a ransom of Rs 2 lakh for her release, and threatened to kill her unless the payment was made. The family lodged a complaint with the police the same day.
The police dispatched teams to both Gujarat and Rajasthan, and used call data records of the phone with which the ransom calls were made, to track the location of the accused. A week later, police rescued the woman and on December 7, she was brought back to her home.
The officer said the female members of the gang would lure women in need of money with the promise of providing them employment, while their accomplices would assault them and hold them for ransom.