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Court acquits woman in flesh trade case

A local court has acquitted a 60-year-old woman from a case of human trafficking and forcing minors into prostitution, stating the police investigation was wrongly done.

The Thane Additional Sessions Judge A S Waghwase, dismissed the prosecution’s version and acquitted the accused Zarina Juja Ahmed Shaikh, a resident of Chotti Hanuman Tekdi, area of Indira Nagar Zopadpatti in Bhiwandi town booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA).

Acting on a tip-off, the police had conducted a raid on the brothel run by the accused in July 2008 and rescued two girls. The woman had been arrested; the prosecution said adding that the girls were forced into prostitution by her.

Both the minor victims alleged that accused had forcibly pushed her into flesh trade.

However, the judge observed, “If at all her stay was against her wish, then she could have escaped, but this has not happened. She has admitted that it was possible for her to raise an alarm. There is no evidence to suggest that the room which was raided was also used for detention of minor because as per the evidence, it merely had curtains and there were no doors. Therefore, under such circumstance, it is difficult to believe that there could be any detention or confinement.”

Appearing for the accused, advocate Ramrao Jagtap said, “There is a non compliance of PITA as the investigating officer is not shown to be a special officer appointed for conducting investigation of this case and no notification or order to that effect was brought on record.”

The officer had admitted that he was posted at Bhiwandi and was not authorised to investigate PITA cases.

All these points went against the prosecution in proving the case beyond doubt and hence the benefit of doubt was given to the accused.

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