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'Honeytrap gang's victims may include politicians, officials'

Press Trust of India  |  Indore 

Some politicians and senior government officials are suspected to have been victims of a recently busted honey-trapping and blackmail racket, a police official said here on Saturday.

Six members of the gang, including five women, were arrested from Bhopal and Indore earlier this week.

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, he added.

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.

The racket came to light after an engineer with the Indore Municipal Corporation lodged a complaint with police that he was being blackmailed.

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," she said.

Aarti Dayal, Monika Yadav, Shweta Vijay Jain, Shweta Swapnil Jain, Barkha Soni and Omprakash Kori who worked as a driver have been arrested in the case.

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," he claimed.

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.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, September 21 2019. 19:00 IST