Thursday, December 22, 2005

Victim’s story helps nail brothel owner



By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The revelations of a girl, forced into flesh trade, have helped the police nail her tormentors for good.

Savitri Gowda, 45, probably the richest female brothel owner in the city, was convicted to three years’ rigorous imprisonment on December 14. The D B Marg police, which booked Gowda for prostitution, was forced to cement the case against her after the young girl narrated to the chairman of the child welfare panel in 2003 how she had been kidnapped, sold, raped, resold and finally forced into prostitution by Gowda and two others.

The two other women convicted along with Savitri were 40-year-old Ammani Pujari and the victim’s stepmother Pyaari Jaan Shaikh. The girl was rescued from Gowda’s brothel at Jamuna Mansion at Khetwadi near Grant Road. The victim, Shakila (name changed), now 19, was brought from Karnataka to Mumbai by stepmother, aunt Pyaari Chaand and uncle Ibrahim Chaand in 1997.

“Shakila was sold to a pimp for Rs 30,000 on a contract of one week, during which the 11-year-old was raped. Later, Shaikh, Chaand and Ibrahim took her to Jamuna Mansion, where Gowda ran a brothel. Gowda bought the child for Rs 10,000 and forced her into flesh trade,’’ said investigator Dinkar Mohite.

Naval Bajaj, who was then the zonal deputy commissioner of police, said: “It’s mostly brothel-keepers who are involved in the buying and selling of minors, thereby supporting child prostitution. A Nirmala Niketan study has said child prostitution is highly profitable and the brothel-keeper can earn over 75% of his total in
come only from minors.’’

Gowda had come to the city 29 years ago and, within a short span of three years of her stay, became the owner of a room on Grant Road, police said. Of 84 brothel rooms at Jamuna Mansion, she got hold of nine in her name and five as benami property. She then went ahead and bought a 1,000-square-foot bungalow in the Congress House area for Rs 80 lakh on January 1, 2004. Soon, she added another flat

(1,500-sq-ft, behind Apsara Cinema, Grant Road) worth Rs 1 crore to her list.

Apart from the string of residences, Gowda owns an STD/ISD centre evaluated at Rs 50 lakh near Prarthana Samaj signal. When the police turned on the heat, she bought a flat at Dadar in April this year for Rs 60 lakh, police added.

Of the nearly 500 CSWs in Jamuna Mansion, 70-80 were controlled by Gowda, who has a 12-year-old daughter and a seven-year
old son, both studying in an English-medium school. She travelled in an air-conditioned Fiat and had two drivers appointed for it.

During a raid under PITA in June 2001, at least 84 commercial sex workers, many of them minors, were rescued by the police. Shakila, who was one of them, was later sent to a rescue home at Chembur, where Andheri-based NGO St. Catherine Home took responsibility of bearing her expenses till she turned 18.


It was here on August 1, 2003, that she narrated her story before the chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, following which D B Marg police swung into action. Gowda, Pujari and Shaikh were arrested immediately but Shakila’s uncle, aunt, another accused Pujari Girja and pimp Raju Shengha are still at large,’’ said PI Rajan Katdare.

An NGO has helped Shakila marry a Kurlabased man, with whom she now stays.


MADAM RICHIE RICH

Savitri Gowda, who came to the city 29 years ago, owned her first room at Grant Road within three years.

Soon she had nine of the 84 brothel rooms at Jamuna Mansion in her name.


After buying a 1,000-square-foot bungalow in the Congress House area for Rs 80 lakh on January 1, 2004, Gowda soon added another flat (1,500-
sq-ft, behind Apsara Cinema, Grant Road) worth Rs 1 crore to her list.

She owns an STD/ISD centre evaluated at Rs 50 lakh near Prarthana Samaj signal.To escape police heat she then bought a flat at Dadar in April this year for Rs 60 lakh.


Gowda controlled 70-80 of the nearly 500 CSWs in Jamuna Mansion


The Times of India, December 22, 2005

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