MLA's 'aides' held for child trafficking

A human trafficker couple from Jharkhand was arrested from Delhi on Sunday for trafficking minor girls and selling them through placement agencies run by them, police said on Sunday.

Panna Lal Mahto, 31, and Sunita Kumari, 37, are alleged to have supplied about 5,000 minor children from Jharkhand for working as domestic helps in Delhi-NCR since they married in 2006. 

They used their Delhi-based placement agencies, some alleged by police to be illegal, for the purpose.

The couple is alleged to be close aides of Jharkhand MLA Yogendra Saw who was arrested earlier this month for over a dozen cases of murder and other crimes.

Mahto’s connections with Maoists are also being probed by the Jharkhand Police.Saw himself had been arrested from the house of the couple Panna Lal Mahto, 31, and Sunita Kumari, 37, in east Delhi’s Shakurpur. 

“The couple had not been visiting their house for the past few days, but had come there on Sunday to collect their belongings in order to flee to an unknown place to evade their arrest,” said Delhi Police’s Crime Branch which made the arrests.

Both were wanted by Jharkhand Police in a human trafficking case and non-bailable warrants had been issued against them by a Jharkhand court. Both were also wanted for two other separate cases each.

For quick money

“It has been revealed that Mahto was running several sub-units to expand the human trafficking business in Delhi in order to make quick money,” said police.
Mahto was earlier arrested in 2006 by Jharkhand Police for human trafficking and was in jail for about five months.

While Mahto studied only till class 12, Kumari is a graduate and has also in the past worked with NGO Nehru Yuva Kendra, police said. Less than a week ago, Mahto’s sister-in-law Gayatri was also arrested from the same area by the crime branch. 

She too is accused of trafficking minor girls from remote areas of Jharkhand to Delhi. Local police in Jharkhand have been informed of the two arrests and the couple was produced in court on Sunday.

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