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Haldia court sentences man for longest period ever in sex trafficking case

18-04-2015 12:38:34

By Soumitra Nandi
Journospy Exclusive
Kolkata:
What can be the maximum imprisonment and longest sentencing ever in a sex trafficking case in West Bengal, a Haldia court on Friday sentenced one Naru Gopal Shaw to 13 years rigorous imprisonment for multiple sex trafficking related crimes.  

Shaw was convicted under five sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) by the Additional District and Sessions Court, Haldia, Purba Mednipore on April 10. But he was additionally convicted for abetting, or assisting, an already imprisoned brothel owner, for all of these charges.  Shaw was also ordered to cough up a fine of RS 1.53 lakh to be divided between the four victims.

"This case is very significant because he was not the principal accused, but was charged for abetment," said Amal Ojha, the special public prosecutor assigned to the case. "This proves that even men who are not directly involved, but are helping as accomplices, can also be punished," added Saptarshi Biswas, advocate for International Justice Mission (IJM), who provided legal counsel to the victims. 

According to a Criminal Investigations Department (CID )officer involved in the investigation of the case,” It was way back in February  2009 when our team together with NGOs IJM and Sanlaap raided a brothel cum hotel in Haldia. Four victims were rescued and three persons were nabbed.”

It was in August 2010 when Shaw surrendered before the court. However, he was granted bail by the Calcutta High Court in January 2011. One of the rescued victims then filed a petition for bail cancellation which was granted. He evaded arrest for two years violating the court’s surrender order. In the meantime, the first phase of trial in the case concluded and three of Shaw’s associates were sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in March 2013.

It was only after this the CID managed to arrest Shaw. Three of the victims returned to court to identify him and narrating their bitter experience of torture that Shaw had inflicted upon them.

One of the victims  made four-hour journey from her home six months pregnant to stand before the court. Another victim testified that Shaw forced them to drink alcohol, stripped them naked, raped, and tortured them. She said he threatened that if they didn't obey the brothel owner they would face dire consequences. 

"This will bring terror to people who are running brothels or abusing girls," said one of the victims after the judgment was delivered. 

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