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Punjab ministers in ‘sex scam’

Ahmedabad, Feb. 16 (PTI): Two Punjab ministers and a Congress MLA, who visited Gujarat for electioneering for the Assembly polls last December, have been named in “a sex racket” busted by police, Gujarat minister of state for home Amit Shah said here today.

At a hurriedly-called news conference here, Shah said the three Congress members — Pratap Singh Bajwa and Amarjeet Singh Samra (both ministers) and Arvinder Singh Lovely (MLA) — during the party campaign in the city stayed in a five-star hotel and allegedly indulged in “immoral” activities.

Punjab’s Congress chief minister Amarinder Singh dismissed the FIR as a “political stunt”.

Though the ministers’ names have not figured in the FIR, interrogation of a driver and a hotel employee arrested in connection with the racket threw light on their activities, the minister said.

“The car driver, who was with the three Congressmen, during interrogation revealed their names in the sex scandal,” Shah said.

“The names of the ministers have not been mentioned in the FIR as it was based on the statement of a witness. Police are conducting a detailed probe,” Shah said.

He said five persons, including an employee of the hotel identified as Ajit George Christian, allegedly the “main racketeer”, were arrested in the wee hours today.

The home department booked four persons, including a woman, arrested in the same case earlier, Shah said.

It also raided 22 hotels in the city, he said.

The minister said all the accused, including women from Bangalore and Mumbai, had been booked under various sections of the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act.

Shah said necessary legal action would be initiated against all those involved after a detailed probe is conducted and concrete evidence gathered.

Crime branch officials identified Neeraj Shah, currently in jail for financial frauds of over Rs 1.50 crore, as the person who paid hotel bills of the Congress ministers.

He also paid for their flight tickets, Shah said.

Led by joint commissioner P.P. Pandey and his deputy D.G. Vanjhara, crime branch teams conducted surprise raids at the hotels based on specific information about flesh trade.

Shah said the crime branch was on the hunt for one more hotel employee who is reportedly the “coordinator” of the “sex racket”.

The general manager of Taj Ummed, Darius Merchant, confirmed the stay of the Congress ministers but dismissed the allegations against the hotel and its employee as “baseless”.

“Our hotel is not involved in any illegal trade at all. These allegations are baseless. Ajit George Christian, Ummed Singh Champavat’s (the hotel owner) personal assistant, is innocent”, he added.

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