The building where Radium Consultancy has its office in Durgapur’s City Centre. Picture by Arup Sarkar
Durgapur, Sept. 17: Two persons have been arrested on the charge of running an escort service in an upscale Durgapur locality in the garb of a placement agency that promised jobs in hospitals, shopping malls and beauty parlours within a month of enrolment.
Two owners of Radium Consultancy, which set up its office at City Centre three months ago, and an employee were arrested last week after they were accused by two women in their twenties who had enrolled with the agency of sexual harassment, mental torture and cheating.
The women had alleged that Radium owners Tapas Das and Paromita Chatterjee had asked them to accompany two businessmen to a tourist spot for a couple of days and “entertain them”.
The agency owners had allegedly told the women that their jobs with the companies owned by the two businessmen would be confirmed if the latter were “satisfied” during the tour.
According to the police complaint, the agency owners took “objectionable pictures” of the women when they refused the offer. The owners allegedly threatened to upload the content on pornograpy websites.
The women, coming from lower middle class families, had registered with the agency two weeks ago for a payment of Rs 2,500 each.
“On Thursday, Chatterjee called me up on my cellphone and told me that the consultancy had found a job matching my profile. She asked me to come to the Radium office,” one of the complainants said.
“When I went to the office, Chatterjee told me to accompany a businessman to a hotel in Tarapith and entertain him for two days to ensure that I got a job in his company. I immediately refused,” she added.
The woman said Chatterjee became furious and abused her. “Suddenly, Das embraced me and Chatterjee started clicking photographs on her cellphone. They threatened to post the photographs on a pornography websites and circulate MMS clips if I approached the police,” the woman said in her complaint.
The other complainant spoke of a similar experience. She added that the agency had offered her a hefty amount for accompanying a businessman.
The accused were arrested on Friday and charged with cheating, wrongful confinement, intimidation and blackmailing.
Radium Consultancy had been operating out of a rented room in City Centre’s Urvashi housing colony.
“The consultancy had given ads in newspapers and local channels asking men and women aged between 18 and 30 years to enrol with it. The consultancy promised jobs in the Group D category in hospitals and shopping malls, and specialised work in beauty and massage parlours,” a police officer said.
“The consultancy also offered lucrative work-from-home jobs to homemakers. The agency had connections with several businessmen and coal smugglers in the area. It used to provide escort services to them,” the officer added.
Some consultancies that have been operating in Durgapur for years expressed concern at the way “fly-by-night agencies were mushrooming in the area”.
“We have been operating here since 1997 and never faced such complaints. We have given placements to thousands of unemployed youths in different sectors. Such fly-by-night placement agencies are tarnishing our image. The police should crack down on them,” said Shantanu Som, the director of Helpline Placement and local Trinamul leader.
The additional deputy commissioner of police (east), Sunil Yadav, said: “We are monitoring the activities of placement agencies that have come up recently in the town.”