The police in Madhya Pradesh are investigating about 12 top bureaucrats in the state and eight former ministers after they unearthed an extortion racket and found more than 1,000 clips of sex chats, explicit videos and audios of power brokers in the state, NDTV reported on Thursday. Politicians from both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress were allegedly caught on camera by those running the honeytrap ring.
The police arrested six people, including five women, on Wednesday. They were identified as 39-year-old Shweta Jain, her 48-year-old namesake, 35-year-old Barkha Soni, 34-year-old Arti Dayal, her driver, and an 18-year-old college student. Each of these women allegedly ran her own gang, according to NDTV. Soni is the wife of former Congress Information Technology cell official Amit Soni.
The 48-year-old Shweta Jain – who reportedly runs a non-governmental organisation and rents the home of BJP MLA Brijendra Pratap Singh – was allegedly the brain behind the operation. She is reportedly close to an influential political leader in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, and met Singh through him.
“More than 10 senior officers are being investigated for quid pro quo benefits to the accused,” said police officer Sanjeev Shami, who is heading a Special Investigation Team inquiry into the scandal. On Wednesday, the police had said it could turn out to be the biggest-ever “quid pro quo sex scandal” in the country, The Times of India reported.
The women allegedly went to a posh club in Bhopal where rooms used to be booked by some senior bureaucrats. “There are inputs that the check-in registers of the club are missing and efforts are on to manipulate other records that have images of these girls,” an officer told the newspaper. “This includes CCTV cameras.”
The police are now trying to prevent the leak of these videos and photographs. An inspector has already been transferred during the initial stage of the investigation while trying to transfer a few clips from one of the seized phones. “He was noticed just in time,” an unidentified officer told The Times of India. “It was footage of the teenage girl with a senior government officer, who could not be identified. He may have intended to forward it further. He will face an inquiry once this probe is over.”
The officer said seeking and accepting sexual favours was a bribe under the new anti-corruption law, and carries a seven-year prison term.
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