The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teenager rescued from Pune brothel

The city police on Friday rescued teenager Gouri Mandal from a brothel in Pune, where she claims to have been sold after being abducted. The girl, a resident of Ashutosh Mukherjee Road, was brought to Calcutta on Friday morning by officials of Bhowanipore police station, where her father had lodged a kidnap complaint. One person, believed to be the local agent of the girl-running racket, has been arrested.

Kuldip Singh, deputy commissioner of police (south), said Gouri and her cousin Purnima, 17, went missing on March 7. “Gouri’s father, Ashok Mandal, lodged a complaint with Bhowanipore police station on May 27. He even named the person he suspected of kidnapping Gouri,” Singh added.

The police said after his daughter went missing, Mandal went to Joynagar, in South 24-Parganas, to see Sheikh Nuruzzaman, whom he blamed for his daughter’s absence. “Nuruzzaman was Gouri’s tailor and a frequent visitor at the Mandal home. When Mandal conveyed his suspicion to the local panchayat pradhan, Nuruzzaman sought 15 days’ time to bring back Gouri,” said a officer of Bhowanipur police station.

When the deadline expired, Mandal moved Bhowanipore police station. Nuruzzaman was arrested and interrogated. “During the grilling, he told us that Gouri had been sold to a Pune brothel. We proceeded to Pune. We found Gouri but not Purnima,” said the official.

Gouri told the sleuths that she and Purnima had gone to Alipore zoo on March 7 with Nuruzzaman and his friends. “I had a cup of tea offered by Nuruzzaman and, soon, I lost consciousness,” Gouri said.

“When I awoke, I found myself in a compartment of a long-distance train. Purnima told me we were going to Pune. There was another youth with us, who identified himself as Rakesh. When we reached Pune, I was sold to the brothel,” Gouri recounted

The police are not sure about Purnima’s role. “We don’t have her whereabouts. We are questioning Nuruzzaman for details on Rakesh. Purnima may have fled with Rakesh,” said a sleuth working on the case. The Pune police have been given details of the missing duo and provided with information on the girl-running racket. “We have been assured that they will help us track down the duo,” a sleuth said.

Deputy commissioner Singh said: “Some leads are expected soon. We will not reveal details for now, as it could alert the missing couple and help it escape the police dragnet.”

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