Madhya Pradesh honey-trap scandal shows systemic rot, top bureaucrats blackmailed for extortion sex by gang

Nearly 4,000 files containing screenshots of sex chats, videos of officers in compromising positions and video clips have been extracted from the laptops and mobile phones from the honey-trap ring

Representative Image 
Representative Image

LS Herdenia/IPA

In the last 24 hours, three significant developments have happened relating to the honey-trap scandal, currently rocking Madhya Pradesh. The most important and sensational development is the disclosure that more than a dozen IAS officers are involved in the scandal. Top police sources indicated that soon the names of those IAS officers will be disclosed by the SIT, which has been entrusted the inquiry. The second important development relates to the change in the head of SIT. Initially, Srinivas Verma was appointed as the head of the SIT, but within 24 hours, for reasons known to the government, Sanjeev Shami, a senior IPS officer, was given the assignment. Shami is regarded as a tough and professionally sound officer. Immediately after his appointment, he visited Indore.

In the third development, 18-year-old Monica Yadav – who was arrested with five other accused in the high profile honey-trap case – has turned approver and will be the main witness, said SSP Ruchiwardhan Mishra on Wednesday.

The announcement came a day after Monica’s father filed an FIR charging the five accused with human trafficking. Apart from Monica, police had arrested Aarti Dayal, Shweta Swapnil Jain, Shweta Vijay Jain, Barkha Soni and a driver, Omprakash, following the complaint of IMC superintending engineer Harbhajan Singh. He had alleged that he was being blackmailed to pay Rs. 3 crore against an objectionable video shot by the accused.

Sources said police hopes to learn from Monica how Shweta carried out the operation — by making Monica a ‘pawn’ in the case. The accused have extorted crores of rupees from several persons, said sources.

The SIT took Monica to a secret location, where she was questioned for over four hours by ADG Sanjeev Shami and SSP Mishra, in the presence of other members. The next step now is to provide protection to Monica and her father, said sources.

The SIT left Indore late on Wednesday night with Monica to collect evidence from Aarti Dayal’s home in Bhopal. Monica has also given information on Aarti’s role in the honey-trap case during interrogation, said sources adding that she also mentioned a hard disk in which many videos are saved. Police are trying to look for the hard disk in Bhopal.

The SIT has not been able to track Abhishek, the accused booked with the five others in the trafficking case. A team has been sent to the state capital to track him down.

Meanwhile the SIT has come across a list of 13 IAS officers – who served at different points of time in fisheries, agriculture, culture, industries, urban administration, labour, forest, water resources, public relations and general administration departments – that the women kept say sources.

The ring handler had created a ‘hit list’ from pages of a government diary with ticks and codes scribbled against their names. Names of some officers were encircled and some marked ‘imp’ or “OK”. Some had ticks marked against their names. Police are trying to crack these signs and words used by the gang, said an official. How many of them got booked is still a matter of investigation, but police have recovered clips of a few officials from the women’s cell phones, said sources. Inspectors are facing a rather embarrassing time compiling lurid details and transcripts of the seized sex clips.

All honey-trapped officials who are identified in these video clips will be showcased, regardless of post or seniority, after a forensic analysis, said a senior IPS officer. Police have found that one of the IAS officers snared in the honey-trap had even changed his cadre.

Nearly 4,000 files containing screenshots of sex chats, videos of officers in compromising positions and video clips have so far been extracted from the laptops and mobile phones confiscated from the honey-trap ring.

Five more girls, who were allegedly used by the pan-India quid-pro-quo sex syndicate, have been identified. Some are said to be teenagers. SIT is yet to decide on a line of action on these girls but sources say they are investigating the possibility that some of them may be minors.

CID on Wednesday registered a case of human trafficking against three of the honey-trap suspects on the basis of a complaint lodged by the father of the youngest accused, 18 years old. She was arrested on the basis of an extortion complaint by Indore Municipal Corporation engineer Harbhajan Singh and is in police custody. After being suspended by IMC Singh is in shock. “He was annoyed by the daily demands of money from these girls. He only wanted to get rid of them with a formal complaint” said a police officer. Many believe that he became the scapegoat of a senior bureaucrat who was himself honey-trapped.

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