Vadodara city police on Tuesday busted a virtual sex racket run from a call centre in the guise of an architecture firm at Akota and arrested the main accused in the case. Two women have also been rescued while police are on the lookout for another accused.
Acting on a tip-off, the JP Road police raided six premises in the city since Monday and arrested the prime accused, Nilesh Gupta, 44, an architect, who has been operating the sex racket through the call centre for nearly two years. Gupta, police said, allegedly amassed Rs 1.5 crore in bitcoins through the online racket.
Gupta’s accomplice and Karelibaug resident Ami Parmar, who is alleged to be a prime recruiter and trainer of women employed to conduct personal sex chats via webcam with clients on porn hosting websites, is absconding, police added. Police have also rescued two women from a rented apartment who were being used by the accused to run the racket and are exploring legal options to book them under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
The investigation into the sex racket, police said, had revealed that several women, who Gupta employed in the past, ended up becoming independent porn content providers.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 2, Vadodara City, Sandeep Chaudhary said, “We are investigating the role of several women employed by Gupta. We have learnt that some of them have gained the experience and know-how of the trade and begun their own businesses. Most women allegedly joined the call centre willingly to earn the fast money that it offers without actual physical prostitution. The women were offered incentives if they brought in more women into the business, in addition to their monthly salaries of up to Rs 25,000. We found some women were earning as much as Rs 1 lakh per month.”
A team of officers from the JP Road police station, led by Police Inspector JP Gosai, have also raided some premises owned by former employees of Gupta on Tuesday. “Initially, Gupta used to recruit women on his own. He would hire them as executives of his architecture firm and hand out designations like any other company. We have learnt that he formally interviewed over 100 women in the last two months for the recruitments,” Chaudhary said.
The accused has been running the virtual sex racket for nearly two years and has earned about nine bitcoins valued at Rs 1.5 crore in Indian currency, police said.
According to police, the accused were content providers on a porn website that allows viewers free access to porn videos and paid personal chats with willing men and women.
“The accused first used the NRI bank account of his wife, a Russian national, for the transactions. The bitcoins were paid by foreign customers as well as the hosting website. Later, the bitcoins were transferred to the account of his wife in Russia. We are yet to ascertain if his wife is also a part of the racket or not. So far, we are not sure about her role as she is currently in Russia, where she has been stranded since the lockdown,” Chaudhary said. Police have also seized 11 laptops, one mobile phone, two TV sets, two wireless internet routers, two webcams, and a light utility vehicle.
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