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Trafficking kingpin confesses to crime

IMG_8706PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

Ranchi: Pannalal Mahato, the trafficking kingpin who was arrested in Delhi last month, has admitted to working with an association that provided trafficked girls to around 250 placement agencies in Delhi. Mahato and his wife Sunita Devi were arrested on October 19 after a weeklong search by a joint team of Jharkhand and Delhi police.

Aradhna Singh, head of Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU), Khunti, who headed the Jharkhand Police team said, “There are four FIRs against Pannalal in Khunti for trafficking and one in Ranchi for extortion while there is an FIR in his wife’s name in Khunti for trafficking.”

Mahato was kept on remand for four days before being sent to Khunti jail on Friday. During interrogation, Mahato disclosed crucial information about the functioning of traffickers in Delhi and Jharkhand to the Khunti police. Talking to TOI, Khunti SP Sudarshan Mandal said, “Pannalal owned four placement agencies but his main work was to coordinate with other placement agencies and provide them trafficked girls.”

“He started as a local broker a few years ago and used to supply girls from Jharkhand to Delhi but soon he opened his own placement agencies in Delhi. After a while, he along with some other leading traffickers started an association with the name Bhagwan Birsa Tribal Welfare Agency. Through this association, he started supplying trafficked girls to around 250 placement agencies of Delhi, out of which his major clients were 80 agencies in Sukurpur and 45 in Punjabi Bagh area of Delhi,” Mandal added.

Mahato was the coordinator of the association while Baba Bamdev, another trafficker who was arrested from Khunti in August this year, was the vice-president. Mandal said, “The main work of Mahato was to coordinate with local traffickers of various states including Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Odisha and get local girls to Delhi after which they were sent to placement agencies as per the demand. Though he has said that the girls were sent only for domestic work, the possibilities of flesh trade can’t be ruled out.”

Mahato also said he did not get money on the basis of number of girls he provided but on the commission depending on the urgency to deliver the work.

“He said that the payment varied from Rs10,000 to Rs.60,000 depending on the placement agencies he was dealing with, the urgency and other factors. Basically it was about bargaining,” Mandal said. Mahato also owns property worth crores of rupees in Delhi, Khunti and Ranchi has a five storey apartment constructed in an area of 500 sq.ft. in Sukurpur, Delhi. In Ranchi, he has 80 decimal land in Argora where an apartment is being constructed and also 1237 sq.ft. plot in Argora.

He also owns more than five acres land in Hutar village of Ranchi. In Khunti, he has around 2.5 acre land in Fudi and 1.2 acre land in Khunti Tola. Mandal said, “Apart from these properties, Pannalal has also revealed possessing many bank accounts and few four wheelers. The police will first investigate the details provided by him and then the details would be given to concerned authorities for further action.”

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