Leakage of sleaze videos containing obnoxious material more toxic than Methyl isocyanate emanated from the Union Carbide factory of Bhopal in 1984, is set to kill careers and family life of hundreds of politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and mediapersons in Madhya Pradesh.
The sleaze details came out following the arrest of a five-member gang of women who honey-trapped several VVIPS, including a former governor, former organisational secretary of BJP state unit, former cabinet ministers, a senior IAS officer posted in the chief minister's secretariat in Shivraj Singh Chauhan's era, IPS officers, former member of Parliament, engineers, mediapersons and bureaucrats.
The gang made several crores by blackmailing the VVIPS and businessmen by recording video clips of their sexual escapades.
Police got the first clue about the scam following a complaint file by Indore Municipal Corporation executive engineer Harbhajan Singh at Palasia police station in the city on September 17. Indore is the business capital of Madhya Pradesh.
In the complaint, the engineer alleged that he was being blackmailed by one Arti Dayal, who allegedly sought Rs 3 crore from him.
The police registered a case of cheating, fraud, extortion and criminal intimidation against the woman and laid a trap for the gang.
The cops arrested Arti Dayal and her accomplice Monica Yadav, who is a college student, from an SUV in which they were waiting for the engineer to deliver Rs 50 lakh.
During interrogation, the women revealed how the gang was targeting high profile individuals across the state, Indore senior superintendent of police Ruchi Vardhan Mishra said.
“They revealed information about three other women operating from Bhopal, following which help from the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) was sought,” the SSP said.
The police soon raided a house at Riviera Township and another at Minal Residency in Bhopal. One of them, Shweta Vijay Jain, was nabbed from the house of sitting BJP MLA Brajendra Pratap Singh at Riviera Township. Another Shweta Swapnil was also arrested from a house at Minal Residency and Barkha Soni was caught from Kotra Sultanabad locality.
The cops also seized laptops, mobile phones, documents and video clips from the gang members.
Shweta Jain, who was a tenant at the MLA's house, is considered the kingpin of the gang . She also runs an NGO.
The BJP MLA represents Panna Assembly seat in Bundelkhand region while Shweta is a native of Sagar, a district in Bundelkhand region.
The MLA said he used to live in that house with family till last month. After moving out, he rented the house to Shweta from September 1.
Several photographs of Shweta campaigning for the BJP's former home minister Bhupendra Singh during the last Assembly elections were also found in the house.
However, the former home minister claimed he doesn’t know Shweta Jain.
“I don’t know anybody called Shweta Jain. You will not find my name anywhere in the case. A fair investigation should be carried out and whosoever is connected in the case should be exposed,” Singh told mediapersons.
Shweta was one of the 325 members of the BJYM's state working committee in 2009-2013.
Another gang member Barkha Soni is wife of Amit Soni, vice-president of Pradesh Congress Social Media and IT Department in te state.
A day after Barkha's arrest, the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) sacked him. Reacting to the incident, Madhya Pradesh Law Minister P C Sharma said, "Former BJP ministers are involved and there is a conspiracy to trap Congress MLAs and ministers. BJP was trying to destabilise the government with the honeytrap."
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bala Bachchan said the government would ensure that the guilty will be punished.
The state BJP is also demanding investigation into the extortion racket.
"It seems that Congress is attempting character assassination through this racket. Congress should take action as there is no one to stop them," said BJP state spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal.
Following the investigation, the Indore Municipal Corporation has suspended the engineer.
The Madhya Pradesh cops have constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the racket. The SIT has released an email ID firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone to share information regarding the case.
According to sleuths, the gang members first befriended high-profile people like IAS, IPS officers and politicians, asking for some work for their NGO.
After getting the phone numbers and other contact details, the gang used WhatsApp and other social media platforms to keep in touch with the VVIPS. They would invite the bureaucrats and politicians to different locations for some meetings. Following the initial meetings, the gang would call their prospective victims to hotel rooms. Before the guests arrive, the gang would send some of their male accomplices to the rooms and set up mobile phones and cameras to record the incidents happening there.
According to police hundreds of such video clips are with the gang and the forensic team is examining all of them.
College girls trapped
The interrogation of Shweta and Monica, who is just 18, revealed some shocking details like how the gang targetted college girls and lured them into the group.
Shweta told police that she had trapped dozens of college girls and made them sleep with bureaucrats and politicians. Videos of all these encounters were recorded and these clips were used by the gang to extort money.
Monica, who has turned approver, was a victim of this plot herself. She wanted to join a high profile college in the state. She came in contact with Shweta who claimed that she has contacts in the higher-ups. Shweta helped Monica in several ways and finally made her to join her gang.
According to police, Shweta admitted her purpose was to get lucrative government contracts from the targeted VVIPs. She procured several contracts worth crores and later gave it to reputed companies for huge commission. Her connection with the bureaucrats helped her get the contracts.
According to sources, Monica was the woman who trapped IMC engineer Harbhajan Singh.