A man accused of trafficking multiple minor girls from South 24-Parganas to Maharashtra was arrested from the outskirts of Mumbai on Monday, police said.
Allauddin Molla, who hails from Canning, was picked up from a house in Nalasopara, a residential area between Vasai and Virar, on the western suburbs of Mumbai. A 17-year-old girl from Joynagar in South 24-Parganas, reported missing since October 26, was rescued from the house.
A police officer in the anti-human trafficking unit in Baruipur police district described Molla as a “serial predator who chose targets from extremely poor families”.
Molla was absconding against an arrest warrant issued by a sessions court in Alipore in May 2020. The case involved the alleged trafficking of a minor, who was rescued from a brothel in Pune in 2019. In that case, Molla had been booked with several charges, including trafficking and gang-rape under the Indian Penal Code and those under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012.
The raid that nabbed Molla was carried out by a team from the anti-human trafficking unit of Nalasopara police, members of two NGOs and cops from Joynagar, where the missing complaint for the rescued girl had been filed.
The mobile tower locations of the girl and Molla had suggested they were together. The team first conducted a fake vaccination drive to nab an associate of Molla. “We had a phone number. We searched scores of houses under the garb of vaccine providers until the number was traced to the associate, who led us to Molla,” said an inspector in the anti-human trafficking unit of Nalasopara police.
Two organisations that work for trafficking victims — World Vision India and Mission Mukti Foundation — lent active support in the operation, the police added.
“Molla is wanted in multiple cases. There is an arrest warrant in his name in a case in Canning. He was earlier arrested in a trafficking-related case. But he got bail,” said an officer in the anti-human trafficking unit on Bengal police, who has spent many years in South 24-Parganas.
“Molla is a serial predator. He would lure girls — mostly from below-poverty-line families — with the promise of a better life. At times, he would promise marriage. To someone else, he would promise a lucrative job,” the officer said.
He had been on the run for some time now, said sources in the Baruipur police administration. “He had stopped visiting his home. He would change phone numbers regularly,” said one of them.
Cops in Bengal suspect that the rescued teenager had fallen for such a promise. “We will know better once we interact with the girl. But it seems she was rescued before Molla could sell her,” said an officer in South 24-Parganas.