Misuse of state funds for CSWs: Pune police arrest five
PUNE A week after HT reported how funds meant for sex workers (CSWs) as part of assistance offered by government during lockdown had been siphoned, Pune police arrested five persons in the case on Thursday.
According to officials, an FIR has been filed against six persons, including three women from KayaKalp, an NGO. The complaint accuses the six of diverting the state funds. As per the complaint the accused took ₹10,000 out of every ₹15,000 they accessed, on the pretext of paying government officials.
Dattawadi police arrested Gauri Gurang (32), a resident of Dhanakwadi; Savita Karishma Lashkare (26), and Sarika Lashkare (30), both residents of Yerawada; Amol Mali (25), and Mahesh Ghadsingh (20).
The sixth suspect, identified with a last name as Sonawane, is currently not traceable, said police.
“The accused were produced before the court which remanded them to police custody till May 17,” said assistant public prosecutor Kiran Bendhar.
The state government had released ₹7.94 crore to be transferred to 5,296 bank accounts belonging to sex workers in Pune based on a Supreme Court order that victims of the flesh trade be compensated by the administration with provision of foodgrains and cash. The court ruled that no documentary proof must be taken from victims while delivering the welfare measures.
HT reported that how part of funds went to the bank accounts of women not CSWs, living in Annabhau Sathe nagar, Tarawade vasti, and Mohammadwadi.
“The Dattawadi police conducted an inquiry of 75 women and found out that 6,000 sex workers were eligible for the funds. We have spoken to 75 women who were not sex workers and yet, were paid this amount. We are now investigating the list provided by Kaya Kalp to see how many of the women registered are genuine sex workers,” said police inspector Krishna Indalkar, an investigating official in the case.
Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh has also ordered n inquiry under sub-divisional magistrate Santosh Kumar Deshmukh.
“I have spoken to 20 of the women that the police inquired into and they all pointed to an individual running an Aids control organisation. We are preparing the data which will be presented to the collector on Monday,” said Deshmukh.
Saheli Sangh, an NGO, and the National Network of Sex Workers (India), have meanwhile protested and condemned the corruption.
“We have been conducting a rapid assessment survey among the 2,000-odd sex workers in Budhwar peth and so far, we have covered 358 women of which 138 are saying they did not receive the money even after submitting documents,” said Tejasvi Sevekari of Saheli Sangh.
A partial shutdown was observed in parts of Srinagar on Saturday on the call of separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on the death anniversaries of his father Molvi Mohammad Farooq and senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone. Another local said commercial activities were also suspended in Khanyar, Fatah Kadal, Habba Kadal and Bohri Kadal areas.
Himachal Pradesh government on Saturday reshuffled four Indian Police Services officers. A 2003-batch IPS officer, PD Prasad, has been posted as inspector general of southern range in superannuation of Himanshu Mishra. Rameshwar Singh Thakur, IG, state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau, has been posted as the IG CID (intelligence). HP principal secretary, health, Subashish Panda said allied health professionals play an important role and the state government would be soon implementing the same.
The head priest of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, Pandit Amir Chand, passed away at his residence in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district on Saturday morning, officials said. Pandit Chand belonged to the family of Pandit Shridhar, who believed to have discovered the three-peaked cave shrine in Trikuta Hills some 700 years ago. “The mortal remains of the priest were consigned to flames at Banganga later in the day,” said a police officer.
J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said terrorism is the gravest threat to peace and prosperity and no one will be allowed to create disturbances in UT. Sinha administered the 'Anti-Terrorism Pledge' to senior officials, DCs and SSPs at Raj Bhawan to mark the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day. “I reaffirm our strong commitment to uphold peace and harmony and to defeat the forces of disruption threatening human lives,” he said.
Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said the current tourism boom in Jammu and Kashmir is due to the rising temperature in the rest of the country and not because of any improved situation in the UT. Azad made the assertion, reiterating his stand on the Delimitation Commission report, saying that “the tailor-made report is in contradiction with the ground realities”. He is scheduled to return to Srinagar on Sunday.