This article originally appeared on VICE India
In what is being called India’s biggest quid pro quo sex scandal, five women and their driver were arrested in a honey-trapping and blackmailing racket in Madhya Pradesh, India, on September 18 and 19.
The extortion racket run by an all-woman squad involved using over 1,000 sex chats, video clips and audio recordings of powerful politicians and bureaucrats in compromising positions to extort money and contracts from them. The accused have been identified as 48-year old Shweta Jain, a 39-year-old woman with the same name, 35-year-old Barkha Soni, 34-year-old Arti Dayal, and an 18-year old college student. Jain has now admitted to coercing college students and using sex workers and Bollywood actresses to seduce people in power, take videos of them in compromising positions and then blackmail them to pump big money into NGOs owned by them and government contracts worth several crores for reputed companies that would give them a commission on the payments.
While the operation’s leaders are said to have close connections with politicians and former ministers, details on this case and the operation that is said to have been running for about 19 years, are still fuzzy. In their investigations, police have now found that they were using spy cameras hidden in lipsticks and goggles along with mobile phones to secretly record victims of the scam.
While Indore Senior Superintendent of Police Ruchi Vardhan Misra had mentioned that they were using sophisticated gadgets to secretly film the victims getting down and dirty, this new finding is especially scary because it leaves room for doubt on what other devices could potentially be bugged, considering how common lipsticks are.
These women were arrested after an Indore Municipal Corporation officer approached the police and accused Dayal of extorting more than Rs 3 crore from him. The police then intercepted the women when they showed up to pick up the first instalment of this payment in an orchestrated plan.
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