Srinagar - A top Kashmiri bureaucrat and two former ministers have been acquitted in the infamous Srinagar sex scandal after witnessed turned hostile.
CBI special judge, Vimal Kumar, on Saturday acquitted Iqbal Khandey, principal secretary, present MLA and former minister Ghulam Ahmed Mir, and Raman Mattoo also a minister, along with alleged kingpin of the sex scam Sabeena and her husband Abdul Hamid as the CBI failed to prove the allegations against them.
Having faced accusations of exploiting women in lieu of jobs for about six years, the order comes as a major relief to all the accused who were facing trial under section 5 of Prevention of Immoral traffic act (PITA).
Relief was visible on the faces of the accused as the judge delivered his verdict.
There was no FIR or complaint as such against the accused. As per the CBI three women had alleged being sexually exploited at the hands of the accused who denied having made any such allegations against the accused. CBI had accused them of procuring sex workers but all the alleged victims of sexual exploitation in their statement before the court denied that they are sex workers, said Mirs counsel advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal while talking to HT after the acquittal.
CBI counsel RK Handa, said, The victims in their statements before the magistrate had alleged that they were exploited by the accused. The victims had even showed the investigating agency the house and the room where they were exploited but in their statement before the trail court they turned hostile and thus the court giving benefit of doubt to the accused acquitted them.
Handa added that the court had also acquitted alleged kingpin of this scam Sabeena and her husband Abdul Hamid, accused in all the three cases of living in the earning of brothel have also been acquitted.
Case history : Jammu sex scandal hit the headlines after porn MMS was traced doing rounds in Jammu and Kashmir. The police filed a case and started investigating. During the investigations it was revealed that Sabeena the alleged kingpin was supplying girls to various official in state machinery. Only one of the victims is minor. Later the case was handed over to CBI. The court on Saturday announced verdict against three accused who were booked under PITA while the main case is still pending.
The high profile sex scam, which shook the state and forced the lawyers resolving not to appear for the defence of the accused was transferred to the city in 2006 by the Apex court. The 14 accused in the sex scam include, former J&K Minister Ghulam Ahmed Hassan Mir, independent MLA and former Minister Raman Mattoo, BSF DIG K C Padhi, former J&K Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi, DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, suspended Principal Secretary (Planning) Iqbal Khandey, hotel owner Riyaz
Ahmed Kawa, Sabeena, the alleged kingpin of the sex racket, her husband Abdul Hamid Shabir Langoo, middlemen Shabir Ahmed Laway alias Shabir Kala, Mehrajuddin Malik, Masood Ahmed, Mohammad Yusuf Mir and Abdul Hamid Bullah.
The CBI has about 100 witnesses and it was for the first time in this case the chargesheet that was produced in the coded form. The accused challenging the coded challans had sought the permission of the court for supply of the decoded chargesheets which was opposed by CBI citing security threat to the witnesses. Though after framing of charges and recording of the statements of the prime witness and victim, the chargesheet was decoded as per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High court.
Who was accused and who was acquitted
Ghulam Ahmed Mir (sitting MLA and former J-K minister): Accused of sexually exploiting women. Two have accused him of exploiting them. One accused him for exploiting her after she met him to get her husband acquitted of charges of being absconding terrorist. The other woman claimed Mir forcibly had sex in lieu of a job. He has been charged under section 5 (procuring, inducing person for sale for the purpose of prostitution) of Prevention of Immoral traffic act (PITA).
Raman Mattoo (former J-K minister): Was accused of sexually exploiting girls when they approached him for jobs. He is charged under section 5 (procuring, inducing person for sale for the purpose of prostitution) of Prevention of Immoral traffic act (PITA).
Iqbal Khandey, Principal Secretary (Planning): charged under section 5 of PITA.
Sabeena (kingpin): She was charged with forcing girls into prostitution and supplying them to politicians and police officials. She allegedly ran a brothel from her Srinagar house. She has been charged under section 3,5 of PITA and 120 b Abdul Hamid (Sabeena's husband): Married Sabeena in 2000 and began allegedly forcing girls into prostitution and supplying them. He had been charged with section 3,4,5 along with section 120b read with section 376 of RPC. (Observer News Service With Inputs From Agencies)
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