A Delhi court on Thursday sentenced Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban to 24 years in prison in connection with a prostitution and human trafficking case. The court also sentenced her accomplice, Sandeep Bedwel to 20-years of imprisonment.
While Sonu Punjaban has been convicted under relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for allegedly forcing a minor girl into prostitution in 2009, Sonu’s accomplice Sandeep Bedwal has been imprisoned after he was found guilty of raping a minor girl who was 12-years-old at the time of the incident.
Sonu Punjaban had not only bought the minor girl but also subjected her to extreme brutality for making her “surrender” for the purpose of prostitution, noted the Delhi court while sentencing the notorious fresh trader to rigorous imprisonment.
The additional sessions judge Pritam Singh, in his 10-page order, observed: “She (the accused) forcibly administered drugs to the girl so that she could not resist a customer (man), who would sexually exploit her. She applied chilly powder on the breast of the girl and also put it into her mouth in order to create fear in her mind that she should act as per her wishes otherwise be ready to face brutality.”
Alarmed at how a woman could outrage and brutalise the modesty of another woman, that too a minor in such a horrific way, Pritam Singh noted that “Punjaban crossed all the limits to be called a woman” and said that she deserved the severest punishment under the law of the land.
The court also stated that a person who commits such ‘horrific and terrible acts’ should be devoid of the right to live in a civilized society.
Sonu Punjaban is one of the most notorious names in flesh trade across northern India. According to police records, she ran one of the biggest prostitution rackets in Delhi and nearby states in early 2000. Her network of high-profile businessmen, dreaded gangsters and associates in police and politics had enabled her to evade the law multiple times while continuing to indulge in human trafficking.
Who is Sonu Punjaban alias Geeta Arora
Sonu Punjaban aka Geeta Arora, entered the murky business of flesh trade and human trafficking after she married gangster Vijay Singh. Soon after their wedding in 2003, Singh was killed in an encounter with Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF). She then got involved with another gangster named Deepak. Deepak to died in an encounter in Assam. Deepak’s brother, gangster Hemant Sonu, who supported her after the demise of his brother, ultimately married her. Geeta Arora took the name of her husband gangster Hemanu Sonu after he was gunned down in an encounter with the Special Cell at the Delhi-Gurugram border in connection with a double-murder case.
Punjaban was first arrested in 2007 on charges of immoral trafficking prevention. Ever since, she has been arrested multiple times. She was eventually booked under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in 2011. Her final arrest came in 2017, which landed her up in Tihar jail where she attempted suicide just a few days back.
According to the police, Sandeep Bedwal had befriended the minor girl and took her to a house in Laxmi Nagar in September 2009 on the pretext of marriage where he raped her. He then sold the girl, who was 12-years-old at the time, to a woman named Seema.
Based on the statement of the girl, police stated that Seema forced the girl into prostitution and even gave her drugs injection. The girl was sold several times and once to convict Sonu Punjaban.
Sonu Punjaban used her for prostitution and before sending her to customers also administered drugs such as proxyvon and alprex tablets, the police said.
The girl had come to Najafgarh police station on February 9, 2014, and after counselling, her statement was recorded by the police, where she narrated the incidents.
On July 16, Sonu Punjaban was convicted under IPC sections 366A, 372, 373, 328, 370, 342, 120B, and relevant sections of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. Her accomplice Bedwal was convicted under sections 363, 366, 366A, 372, 120B, 376 and 370 (buying or disposing of any person as a slave) of IPC. The duo was sentenced to 24 and 20 years rigorous imprisonment respectively on July 22.