Millennium Post

Delhi noir

He is Bobby Chhakka, the man who left his Himachal Pradesh village and landed in Delhi about 20 years ago, washed dishes in a sweet shop outside the Old Delhi railway station, then became a pimp and later a leading sex racket operator after allegedly killing his partner-turned-competitor Sanjay Gupta in 2003. ‘Today, he is believed to run one of the biggest sex rackets in the nation, and clearly the biggest tracked so far in Delhi,’ says a police official seeking anonymity.

Chhakka has a wide network across the nation, even beyond the nation. Sonu Punjaban – another infamous name in alleged organised flesh trade with an affluent clientele, was just a part of Bobby’s network. Sonu’s arrest was a setback but things didn’t stop for Chhakka for too long and in a year or two he had regained his position in Delhi.

The officer further says, ‘So what if Sonu Punjaban was arrested? There are more than 80 organised sex rackets that operate from Delhi currently. Most of them are allegedly run by some of Punjaban’s old associates with each dealing in a different “type” so that their businesses do not clash with Chhakka’s.’

Over the past few years, most of them have based themselves in south Delhi, especially the Lajpat Nagar IV – Kailash Colony area, from where they cater to the needs of a large clientele from a range of backgrounds that include the corporate, political, bureaucracy, sports, entertainment and every possible avenue where there is money. There is another network of rackets that operates from outer Delhi, particularly Rohini, from where they serve a different set of clients.

If one remembers, recently, Sonu Punjaban was acquitted of all the charges under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) registered against her when she was arrested by the Delhi police about two years ago – for the third time – for her alleged involvement in immoral trafficking.

According to a source, all these organised crime rackets have an identity depending upon the ‘type’ of targets that they involve in their business. The entire industry – if one may call it so – depends on what the clients want. They express their desires to the middlemen (who can be an employee up to the level of the manager in a hotel or a pub), who make the call to the right person depending upon the ‘type’ he/she deals in.

The first type refers to the housewives who join the network on their own to meet demands of growing consumerism. The source says that necessities today also happen to include the latest smartphones and platinum pendants which they cannot afford with their husbands’ incomes. ‘A large part of this type is sourced from the government quarters and the janta flats in Delhi-NCR. All one needs to do is to get them a little addicted to their desires and they land into the network themselves,’ the source adds.

The second type refers to the women supplied by the placement agencies, backed by traffickers who get girls from economically backward regions — they include the north-eastern states, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

‘In the first two types, the cut for the organiser is high because of low arrangement cost – both in terms of overheads (hotels, upkeep, middlemen commission, among others) and low procurement cost because the targets easily get into the network out of their own needs. More than half the organised rackets in Delhi deal in the first two types,’ says a police official.

Type three in the business is the most preferred of all. They include mostly college students and office goers who speak good English, wear fashionable clothes and are highly desired by the clients. Most of them are trapped through the social network and it is done by agents set among the targets. Though the agents are to be paid, but still the entire cost of training is saved, says the source. He further says, in this particular type, most of the targets fall prey to the fetishes that originate mostly from the lavish lifestyle which some of their peers pursue.

The source adds, one big problem with type one is that they are all part-timers, which is not so with type two. But in type three, almost all targets start as part-timers, but a large number of them – around one-third — end up becoming full-timers in the business.

The most expensive kind is the fourth type. It includes budding models, air hostesses, aspiring actresses and also a few industry rejects. ‘Old infamous names like Kamaljeet Thapa dealt exclusively in the fourth type when his business was at its prime. But Kamaljeet couldn’t recover the loss he had suffered after his previous arrest about four years ago. And things never worked well, which drove him out of the competition in type four,' a police official informs. He further says, today in Delhi there are about three or four — including Bobby Chhakka — who deal exclusively in type four.

He adds, they deliver their services only in farm houses and posh hotels that too in a few selected ones. In case of selection of hotels, lately it has been observed that they have slowly changed their taste from five-stars to four-stars and downward because of security issues and some hassles that usually crop up.

‘Sonu Punjaban, however, particularly dealt in the first three types and her associates who are allegedly expanding their network are now slowly moving from the first two types to the third type. But one cannot base his/her racket entirely on the third type because of the risk and uncertainty it involves,’ says another source. He further says, they are also going for what is better known as ‘international brand’ in the business.

International brand in the flesh business developed as a separate ‘type’ in the past two decade. It consists of woman particularly of African and Central Asian nations. Most Uzbeks were sourced from the Circus industry which went out of business due to stringent laws of cruelty against animals. With time, women from Nepal and the north-eastern states started joining this network, as it gave them a racial advantage over types one and two, and also because they felt less exploited here, says the source.

International brand had a network of its own – with separate pimps and policies – until they got into the business of drugs. ‘When drugs met flesh, the emerging players in the city – many of the old associates of Punjaban and Kamaljeet, came calling,’ says a police official. He further says, ‘They are the organisers of the leading rave parties in Delhi-NCR region at present.’

‘Once an organised sex racket is established, the next thing they look for is power. Power is an indispensable need for its survival. Now where do they acquire this power from? It is entirely from its clientele – the wealthy and influential clients. It has always been like an implied agreement: Service in exchange of money and a promise to keep secrets in exchange of a little share of power,’ says the source.

Recently in a road rage incident on Lodhi Road, a senior cop was allegedly beaten up by a trio, which included a juvenile and a woman. Once the accused were arrested, it emerged that the woman allegedly involved in the incident ran a small time sex racket in Delhi. ‘When records were checked it emerged that the lady, identified as Rajni, was booked twice in the past on charges of immoral trafficking,’ says a senior police official.

‘When it comes to cracking sex rackets, I can say that police have given up. The industry is so large and so messy that if it is to be rooted out entirely, a large part of the police force has to be engaged exclusively on that. That would be an expensive deal considering the quantum of heinous crimes the police force is already dealing with in the present times,’ says the official.

The official further says, one should also look at the futility of such investigations with regard to organised rackets. Take for example the case of self-proclaimed god man Ichchhadhari Baba, who later turned out to be an entrepreneur in organised flesh trade in disguise. It is still being investigated whether the racket continues to run even though he is in judicial custody for the past two years. ‘In such pattern of crime, the physical presence of the racket head hardly matters. Same were the cases with all of them: Kamaljeet Thapa, Bobby Chhakka and Sonu Punjaban, who have been arrested and released on bail time and again,’ the officer adds.
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