In a major breakthrough, the Madhya Pradesh police on Monday busted a child trafficking racket in Gwalior and rescued seven girls, aged around three to seven years. Cops also arrested five people, including a woman, who allegedly stole the children from busy areas in the city and later sold them to brothels.
Madhya Pradesh is infamous for its rising number of human trafficking cases. In April last year, a baby selling racket, operating from Gwalior’s Palash nursing, was unearthed.
According to the police, the racket was busted after an autorickshaw driver on December 29 alerted the cops about a suspicious woman accompanying a crying child.
“Driver Hari Mohan Chaurasia alerted head constable Rajkishore Tripathi, who was on-duty at Jayendra Ganj Square in Gwalior, about a girl, aged around four years, was travelling in his auto along with a middle-aged woman and was crying inconsolably,” Gwalior superintendent of police Ashish Kumar said.
The head constable stopped the three-wheeler and brought the duo to Jayendra Ganj police station for questioning. During interrogation, accused Laxmibai disclosed the gang had stolen the child from Sai Baba Mandir premises.
The victim’s father, resident of Old Gwalior area, had already lodged a missing complaint. The girl has been handed over to her parents.
The SP told newsmen on Monday that the five-member gang operated in and around Gwalior and picked children from vulnerable and busy spots, such as temple, bus and railway stations. The gang sold the children to brothels for anything between ₹30,000 and ₹40,000. The seven girls were rescued from Dabra, Bhitarwar, Gijjora, Shivpuri and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Badi and Dholpur in Rajasthan over the last three-four days.
The accused were identified as Laxmibai Kushwaha, Ram Milan Kanjar, Ramnath Baghele, Raju and Rajesh. Laxmibai has been sent to police remand for five days by a local court.
The SP said the police department will felicitate Chaurasia and Tripathi for their prompt action.