New Delhi: A Delhi court has awarded Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban (35), accused of trafficking a 12-year-old girl for prostitution, a 24 year-prison sentence, observing she “has no right to live in civilised society” and “crossed all limits to be called a woman and deserves severest punishment provided under the law”.
Punjaban, who as per court documents is a habitual offender, was facing trial for the trafficking of the minor girl. The child was initially kidnapped by co-accused Sandeep Bedwal (41), who was also convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He has to pay Rs 65,000 while Punjaban has to pay a fine of Rs 64,000. This is the first time she has been convicted in a case.
The court said the girl was sexually exploited for three-four years at the hands of several offenders, and if Sandeep had not kidnapped her, “perhaps the ordeal would not have happened”.
Recently, Sonu Punjaban tried to commit suicide in Delhi’s Tihar Jail by consuming medicines. She was taken to a hospital where she recovered following treatment.
Announcing the punishment, the court said Sonu Punjaban “crossed all limits to be called a woman and deserves severest punishment”.
“Sonu Punjaban not only purchased the victim for prostitution but she also brutalised her to make her surrender to her demands. She forcibly administered drugs to the victim so that she could not resist a customer who would sexually exploit her. She applied chilly powder on the breast of the victim and also put it into her mouth in order to create fear in her mind that she should act as per her (Sonu Punjaban’s) wishes, otherwise be ready to face brutality. Sonu Punjaban beat the victim when she resisted to follow her commands,” the court said in its order.
“The shameful deeds of Sonu Punjaban deprives her of any leniency from the courts. A person who does such horrific and terrible acts, has no right to live in civilised society and for her the best place to live is the four boundaries of jail,” the court said.
The victim in this case was 12-years-and-10-months-old when she was kidnapped and trafficked. The court has also provided Rs 7 lakh compensation for the child.
In 2014, the Delhi Police had registered a case against Sonu Punjaban in Najafgarh police station. Back then, the police had filed an FIR accusing Sonu Punjaban and her six aides of forcing a minor girl into prostitution. The investigation was later transferred to the Crime Branch.
Sonu Punjaban was booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The victim, who was trafficked, tortured, drugged, and forced into prostitution, ultimately helped the cops arrest Sonu Punjaban. She had escaped from Sonu Punjaban’s confinement and somehow reached the Najafgarh police station where she narrated her ordeal. The police lodged a written complaint and recorded her statement. However, before the victim could reach to the court, she ran away.
Later, Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Pankaj Negi managed to track her. “She was counselled and was assured that the police will help her,” the official said. After getting the assurance, she told police that she was trafficked in 2013.
The victim further told police that the gang used to provide home services for which a driver along with a guard used to take the girls to the destinations. In 2017, Sonu Punjaban and Sandeep were finally arrested.
Who is Sonu Punjaban?
Sonu Punjaban is a famous sex racketeer in Delhi. Reports suggest that at a very young age she became known across North India and had ties with gangsters, most of whom died in encounters after meeting her. She is said to have been in relationship with two of them.
A 2019 report in the leading newspaper says Sonu Punjaban ran one of the biggest sex rackets in the Delhi-NCR with her clients including “high-profile businessmen and her employees including aspiring models and actresses”. Her henchmen were spread across north India.
In 2014, a Delhi court acquitted Sonu Punjaban, who was accused of running an organised sex racket and was charged under stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Additional Sessions Judge Gulshan Kumar acquitted Sonu Punjaban of the charges due to lack of evidence against her.
In April 2011, the Delhi Police arrested Sonu Punjaban after they received a tip-off that she was involved in running a flesh trade racket. Police deployed two officers, who posed as customers and laid the trap. The officers then struck a deal with the tout, Raju Sharma, and Sonu Punjaban for two girls. This was, the cops arrested Sonu, her four associates and four other men during a raid in Mehrauli.
Police had earlier arrested Sonu Punjaban twice, from Preet Vihar and Saket, before she was charged with MCOCA in 2011.
In 2007, she was arrested under sections of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. While she got bail in the 2007 case, she was arrested for the same offence in 2008.
When she was arrested in April 2011 as part of the Mehrauli raid, she had already been booked for the same offence twice – which is one of the preconditions for invoking MCOCA.
Sonu Punjaban is also allegedly involved in a murder case in Haryana’s Jhajjhar district, police said.