“In the police station, I was crying and begging the cops to release me, they separated my friend and me and took us to another police chowkie (Sangharsh Nagar)…”
Six people, including three policemen and a woman, were arrested on 23 April for allegedly sexually exploiting a model, reports said. The 29-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in a Mumbai police station.
The three policemen have been identified as API Khatape, Suryavanshi and constable Kode, according to The Times of India. The policemen allegedly extorted around Rs 5 lakh from the victim. The accused also included a woman.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the 29-year-old recounted the horror that she had to face on the intervening night of 2 April and 3 April. According to the model, the accused picked her and her friend from the hotel, where she was supposed to meet someone for a job, and took them to the police station.
“They started accusing us of prostitution,” she said. “I pleaded repeatedly. They threatened me, API Sunil Khatpe was the most violent. Twice he warned me by raising his hand and signalling that he would slap me.”
According to the model, Khatpe continued to call her for days after the incident and even wished her on Good Friday! It is hard enough to approach the police and the medical officials in a rape case but it becomes increasingly tough when the accused are men in the uniform.
“In Delhi, civilians rape women… In Mumbai, it’s the police,” she told the Indian Express.
The model in her complaint alleged that on 3 April, she had gone to a five star hotel for an interview. Her shoot coordinator Aman had set up an interview and had asked her to meet a Gujarat-based businessman at the hotel.
When she turned up at the hotel the said businessman asked her to meet him in his room. Reports quote her as saying that she suspected something was wrong and instead asked a friend to come to the hotel and pick her up.
When the duo were leaving, the police team arrived and accosted them. They later took them to the Sangarsh police station in Sakinaka and extorted money and molested her.
The police had told her that it was a “raid” before picking her up from the hotel. According to The Times of India, the investigation into the case shed light on the nexus between the police and the pimps in the system.
“Going through their Call Detail Reports of each there are continuous incoming and outgoing calls of accused, cops, pimps and some girls indulging in the prostitution racket. We have started calling each and every one but most of them have switched off their cell phones and are unavailable,” TOI quoted sources as saying.
The police in their preliminary report said that the “gang”, which included a few policemen, would target women and threaten them with charges of prostitution. Police said that the case blew the lid off a well-planned nexus and a blackmail link hatched by the eight — including three cops — from the Sakinaka police station.
The police is also planning to initiate action against the doctors and staff of Cooper Hospital who were under the obligation to report the incident to the local police station when the woman came to them for medical check up.
Speaking with The Indian Express, the woman said, “When I told a male doctor I am a model and was sexually abused by a policeman, he signalled to his colleague that my complaint didn’t seem authentic.