62 year-old man suspected to be running escort service in Delhi arrested

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) A 62-year-old man, suspected to be running a high-profile escort service in the capital’s upscale Safdarjung Enclave area, was arrested on Thursday on charges of exploitation of a trafficked person.

Pritindra Nath Sanyal was arrested after the Income Tax department found a 23-year old woman from Central Asia at his residence, kept there against her will, police said.

“He was caught after the Income Tax department forwarded a complaint to police a few days ago regarding his sources of income,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Ishwar Singh told IANS.

The incident came to light when the IT department raided the house of Sanyal on June 2. They found the foreign woman in the house, who said she wanted to leave and slashed her wrists in an attempted suicide in front of the IT Department officers. She was admitted to hospital, police said.

Raids were carried out by the IT department at his two properties in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj and Safdarjung Enclave area and one in Gomati Nagar area of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, police said. The woman was found in the Safdarjung Enclave house.

In her statement to the IT department officers the woman said she was feeling very insecure with the accused, Sanyal, and wished to leave the premise immediately, police said.

The travel documents and passport of the woman was with Sanyal, the police said.

“The woman had come to India on a tourist visa on February 25 this year,” Singh said, adding, “We have also recovered mobile numbers of several foreign women and passport copies of four to five women from Central Asia,” the officer said.

He said the case may blow the lid off some big racket as the IT department found incriminating documents indicating his involvement in illegal activities like human trafficking and impersonation.

“Messages exchanged between Sanyal and his associates revealed financial transactions related to foreign women,” the official added.

The woman came in contact with Sanyal through a retired army Colonel Ajay Ahlawat, the police said.

On Ahlawat, the officer said, “He is also not clean, there were three cases of cheating against him, including one in Hauz Khas police station.”

A senior police officer told IANS, “We are questioning Ahlawat, who is also a big shot and has several resorts in Haryana and Rajasthan.” According to reports, India One Day cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wedding reception was held in one of Ahlawat’s resorts.

A case was registered against Sanyal at the Safdarjung Enclave police station under Sections 370 (Buying or disposing of any person as a slave), 370 A (Exploitation of a trafficked person), 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (Punishment for wrongful confinement), 419 (Punishment for cheating by impersonation), 120 b (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, police said.

Sanyal, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, moved to Delhi 25 years ago. He had bought three properties after coming to Delhi.

The police said that the accused seems to be a “fraudster” as he used to send mobile messages to several persons posing as a Member of Parliament.

“He would send messages promising to get professional and business deals of people cleared through his contacts, pretending to be a MP,” Singh said. Sanyal sent messages pretending to be Naresh Agarwal, a Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh.

A senior police officer related to the probe told IANS, “Sanyal used to send messages to the people for getting their land deals cleared from the government using his contacts in the bureaucracy.”

“A blank letterhead of Jagdambika Pal with his signature was also found during the raid,” the officer said. Pal is a BJP MP of Domariyaganj in UP.

Neighbours of Sanyal, who did not wish to be named, told IANS, “We knew that he had a business of export-import. He was residing here since last three years. He was not very social with neighbours.”

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pal, reacting to the news of his name cropping up in the case, said that he doesn’t know anyone named Sanyal.

“I don’t know anybody named Sanyal. I have been in politics for over 35 years. And I have never issued any blank letterheads to anyone in my entire career, not even to my wife,” Pal told IANS.

“If someone has used my name then police must probe against him and give the strictest punishment under the law,” he added.

(Anand Singh can be reached at anand.s@ians.in and Ishan Sahni can be reached at ishansahnis@gmail.com)

–IANS

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