Pune: The Pune police cracked down on various brothels in the city under Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1956. The residence of habitual offender Kalyani Deshpande, who is currently serving jail time for running high profile sex racket, has also been sealed for a period of one year.
Police commissioner Rashmi Shukla ordered sealing of 12 brothels in the past few days. On Friday, a notification of 12 brothels being sealed was released by the Social Security Cell of Pune police on the orders of commissioner Shukla.
Deshpande’s flat on Pashan-Sus Road was one of the 12 places sealed. Of the 12, only Deshpande’s residence was located along Pashan-Sus Road while the rest were from Budhwar Peth – the red light area in the city.
Deshpande was known to have been operating from her flat in a housing society on Pashan-Sus Road and a bungalow in the same area.
After escaping charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999 once in 2013, Deshpande was booked under the stringent act, which nullifies the possibility of bail, in October 2016 after she was arrested last year for running a sex racket from Bhusari Colony in Kothrud. Her accomplice Ravi Tapse was also arrested from Kothrud. Another accomplice of Deshpande, named Pradeep Gawli, was booked under MCOCA.
Forty-six year old Deshpande was arrested on several occasions but had managed to escape jail time every single time under Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA). She has been operating since 1998 and has been booked in 25 cases.
According to the police, Deshpande used to rent a flat in some area through her agent as a cover to her racket. She was also externed from Pune city for two years in 2014 before she showed up in Kothrud.
The seal notice will be effective on three of the brothels starting July 15, on three others starting June 28, on one starting June 22, on four starting March 4 and one other starting April 24. Of the four brothels against which seal order will be effective from March 4, two will be shut for three years.
Officers from two police stations had recommended the brothels mentioned in the seal notice to be shut. The police stations which recommended the sealing include Faraaskhana and Chaturshrungi police station, according to the notification.
The order was issued in order to prevent re-establishment of human trafficking rings in places from where women were rescued in police raids.
The seal has hardly affected the daily business in the area. Kohinoor building, one of the 12 places mentioned in the list, contained two places mentioned in the notification. One was on the fourth floor while one was on the sixth floor. While the one on the fourth floor was fully operational, the sixth floor was inaccessible as a tin sheet had been installed in the stairwell leading to it.
“While one of the women left for her native place, one has moved downstairs to the third floor and continues her business from there,” said on of the women staying on the fourth floor of Kohinoor building.
Another resident of fourth floor, Kohinoor, said, “I came here 15 years ago from Kolkata after falling for a fake job offer. No one came to rescue me. After 15 years, I don’t know what else to do.”
The women live in dingy, unhygienic settings with bad sewage.