In a first of its kind move to control the menace of sex rackets operating in the city,the Pune city police have arrested four persons,who allegedly went as customers at a hotel in Hadapsar on Monday evening.
Acting on a tip-off,a team of social security cell of the Crime Branch,led by inspector Bhanupratap Barge,raided Hotel Ajinkya on Malwadi Road in Hadapsar.
They rescued six girls from the hotel,and arrested four persons who had gone to the hotel as customers. They have been identified as Pradeep Bandopant Patil (24),a web designer from Kolhapur,Ganesh Balasaheb Bendre (26) and Nana Sampat Bendre (23),both from Shirur in Pune district and Sandesh Gangaram Shinde (24),a farmer from Wagholi.
We have arrested four customers under Section 5 (to procure a girl for prostitution with or without her consent) of Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA). This is the first time we have taken action against customers of prostitution. We have also booked the hotel owner,Sunil Tupe,in the case. He is on the run. If the offence is proved,the suspects will face penalty of up to seven years in prison, said inspector Barge.
Meanwhile,police have also arrested Abhijit Vikas Devnath of West Bengal,who was operating as an agent at the hotel.
The court has remanded Devnath and the four customers in police custody for three days. A search has been launched for the kingpin Ajay Patil and his aide Vyankat. Police said that the hotel may be sealed for further investigation and action.
The rescued girls are from Kolhapur,Bangalore,Kolkata and Nepal. They were lured to Pune by prostitution agents for a period of 10 days with promise of big monetary gains.