Days after an alleged high-profile honey trapping racket was busted in Madhya Pradesh, five of the several accused in the case were sent to judicial remand on 27 September, ANI reported.
While Shweta Vijay Jain, Shweta Swapnil Jain and Barkha were sent to police remand till 30 September, two other accused, Aarti Dayal and Monika Yadav, have been sent to police remand till 1 October.
The SIT has also seized two bank accounts and two bank lockers belonging to accused Shweta Vijay Jain and Aarti Dayal, ANI reported.
The state government had on Monday, 23 September, formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the racket, The Indian Express reported.
The move came after the Indore Municipal Coorpration official, who blew the lid off the case, was suspended on Monday itself.
According to an India Today report, the father of one of the accused, Monika Yadav was also detained by a team of Indore police on Monday night from Rajgarh.
BJP & CONG TRADE BARBS
A row broke out on Friday over the comments of a Madhya Pradesh Congress leader that bachelor status of RSS leaders was at the root of scandals like the honeytrap case, prompting the BJP to say that these reflected a “depraved mindset.”
Manak Agarwal also advised leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to get married.
“The honeytrap case started when Shivraj Singh Chouhan was chief minister. This case is spread across five or six states where the BJP is the ruling party,” Agarwal told PTI.
“One of the major reasons for the honeytrap case is that people from the RSS do not marry,” he claimed.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and senior BJP leader Gopal Bhargava said that Agarwal's comments reflected a depraved mindset.
“I know of several unmarried persons across political parties including the Congress. He is questioning the character of all such people. RSS leaders are patriots and work for the country with dedication,” said Bhargava.
Five women and a man were arrested in Indore and Bhopal for allegedly running a honey-trapping and blackmailing racket.
One of the accused had rented a house owned by former state minister and BJP MLA Brijendra Pratap Singh.
Aarti Dayal (29), Monica (18), Shweta Vijay Jain (39), Shweta Swapnial Jain (48), Barkha Soni (34) and Omprakash Kori (45) were arrested over the last two days.
Electronic gadgets including spy cameras, cash, mobile phones and a high-end SUV were recovered from their possession.
Indore Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ruchi Vardhan Misra said the arrests followed a complaint lodged by an engineer with the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) that he was being blackmailed by the accused.
Shweta Vijay Jain allegedly introduced Aarti Dayal to this IMC official eight months ago, the SSP said.
The two became friends. During one meeting, a video clip was shot, and later the accused demanded Rs 3 crore from the official, threatening to make the clip public if he did not cough up the money.
After he approached the police, a trap was laid. The official told the accused that he would pay Rs 50 lakh in the first installment. When Aarti and Shweta Jain arrived in Indore in an SUV to collect the money, the two, along with their driver Kori, were arrested.
After quizzing them, police arrested three more women from Bhopal, SSP Misra said.
Shweta Swapnial Jain (48), one of the accused, had rented a house from Panna BJP MLA Brijendra Pratap Singh at the posh Rivierra Town in Bhopal.
Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh minister, said he had nothing to do with Jain except that she was his tenant.
"I am ready to face any inquiry. I had let my house to her through a broker since 1 September, that was all," the MLA told PTI. "The broker had told me it was a good family," he added.
Asked about the Congress' accusation that many BJP leaders were involved in the racket, he said the government was free to carry out a probe through any investigation agency.
State home minister Bala Bachchan said in Indore that nobody, whether an official or a politician, would be spared if found involved in the racket.
The accused were produced before a court in Indore which remanded them in police custody for three days, ASP Singh said.
POLITICIANS, GOVT OFFICIALS SUSPECTED TO BE VICTIMS
Some politicians and senior government officials are suspected to have been victims of the honey-trapping racket, a police official said on Saturday, 21 September.
A senior police officer privy to the investigation said on condition of anonymity that "based on audio-visual material recovered from the accused and their interrogation, we suspect the gang had targeted several people in the last ten years".
“The victims could include politicians and top government officials, most of them from Bhopal.”Police Official
The gang allegedly wooed such people using attractive women, and blackmailed them for money by shooting potentially embarrassing videos, according to the police.
The officer said it was also being investigated whether the accused used similar blackmail to get government contracts for certain NGOs.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Indore, Ruchi Vardhan Mishra, said on Saturday that cameras and other equipment seized from the accused's possession has been sent to a forensic laboratory for retrieval of data.
“We suspect some more women are involved in the gang. There may also be some other victims (apart from the municipal officer who filed the complaint) of the gang.”Ruchi Vardhan Mishra, SSP, Indore
The opposition BJP, meanwhile, demanded CBI probe of the case.
"We feel that due to the political pressure, the police are having difficulty in conducting unbiased investigation. So the Congress government should either hand over the investigation to the CBI or set up a Special Investigation Team," former home minister Bhupendra Singh said.
“Names of several politicians and bureaucrats have cropped up during the probe. Postings of three district collectors were reportedly done at the behest of the gang.”Bhupendra Singh, Former Home Minister
RUMOURS OF BJP INTERFERENCE TO DESTABILISE GOVT
On some Congress leaders' allegation that the gang could be acting at the behest of the BJP to destabilise the Kamal Nath government, Singh said, "Does it mean that the character of Congress MLAs is such that they can fall prey to any conspiracy to topple their government after being honey trapped? Congress leaders are questioning the character of the people of their own party."