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‘Deserves no leniency’: Sex racketeer Sonu Punjaban gets 24 years jail (Lead)

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A Delhi court on Wednesday sentenced sex racketeer Geeta Arora, alias Sonu Punjaban, to 24 years rigorous imprisonment and her associate Sandeep Bedwal to 20 years in a case of kidnapping and prostitution of a minor girl.

The 12-year-old victim was kidnapped by Bedwal on September 11, 2009 and was sold and re-sold to a score of people, including Sonu Punjaban, for the purpose of prostitution.

While sentencing Sonu Punjaban, Additional Session Judge Pritam Singh of the Dwarka court held that she does not deserve any leniency as she crossed all limits to be called a woman and deserved the severest punishment provided under the law.

“How a woman can outrage and brutalise the modesty of another woman, who is minor, in such a horrific way. The shameful deeds of convict Geeta Arora deprives her of any leniency from the courts,” the judge rules.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 64,000 on her and sentenced her to 24 years of rigorous imprisonment for not only purchasing the minor for prostitution but brutalising her.

Sonu will first undergo 14 years jail term for offences under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, followed by 10 years for offences such as procuration of minor, slavery, selling and buying minor for prostitution, poisoning, wrongful confinement and criminal conspiracy.

Bedwal, on whom a fine of Rs 65,000 was slapped, will first serve 10 years jail term for kidnapping, procuration of minor, slavery, selling minor for prostitution, and criminal conspiracy, followed by 10 years for rape of the minor.

“Convict Sandeep Bedwal began the commission of the offences upon the victim. The person, who committed such offences or is responsible for commission of such offences do not deserve any leniency and is liable to be dealt with firm hands of the law,” the court noted.

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The court also recommended disbursal of compensation of Rs seven lakh to the victim, noting that not only was her education disrupted but her childhood was made hell by the convicts.

The court had convicted the duo on July 17, holding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving the charges against the two accused “beyond reasonable doubt”.

According to the prosecution, Sonu Punjaban used to administer drugs into the body of the victim to make it “more suitable for prostitution” and used to charge Rs 1,500 from the customers.

Five years after the case was registered, the victim came to the police station to record her statement, in which she claimed that she was kidnapped by Bedwal after he confessed his love to her.

The victim divulged that he took her to the house of ‘Seema Aunty’ on the pretext of marriage and raped her. From there, the chain of selling and re-selling her for the flesh trade began.

The minor girl was then sold four times by different people and eventually end up with Sonu Punjaban, who after using her for prostitution, sold her to three men. Following this, one of the men named Satpal married her.

“On February 7, 2014, the victim left the house of Satpal and on February 9 came to Police Station Najafgarh and on her statement, an FIR was registered,” the court said. Sonu Punjaban was then arrested in December 2017 and the charge sheet was filed in March 2018.

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