New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Nine years ago, when Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban, riding on a criminally notorious human-trafficking business, was arrested in a raid in Mehrauli, media reports suggested that Arora was once posing for photographs in front of media outside Dwarka Sessions Court as she was being taken inside.

Almost a decade down the line, Arora barely has left any reason to flaunt amid a COVID-led era of virtual Court hearings, and the fact that she has been sentenced for 24 years of ‘rigorous imprisonment’ under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The Court observed: “The shameful deeds of Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban deprives her of any lencieny from the courts. A person, irrespective of gender, who does such horrific and terrible acts, has no right to live in civilised society and for her the best place to live is within the four boundaries of the jail. The convict crossed all the limits to be called a woman and deserves severest punishment provided under the law.”

Who is ‘Sonu Punjaban’?

The character inspired by her criminal persona has been played twice by actress Richa Chadda as Bholi Punjaban in ‘Fukrey’ (2013) and Fukrey Returns (2017), both times to a great on-screen success.

Off screen, the now convicted Sonu Punjaban served as a high-end flesh-peddler based out of South Delhi who reportedly supplied young girls, aspiring models, and actresses to high-profile clients in and around Delhi – five star hotels, farmhouses, private parties and individual homes. Often, these girls were forced into the notoriously illegal business, by kidnapping, being drugged before being sent over to powerful men for sexual services.

'Four walls of jail best place': Sonu Punjaban sent to 24 years in prison in human trafficking case

For long, Sonu played hide-and-seek with the police and judicial system. Born in East Delhi, Sonu owned a home in South Delhi’s posh Saidullajab locality near Saket when she first came on Delhi Police’s radar, with her racket spread across various states.

All “bad boys” who came in her life are dead

Various media reports quote investigators as saying that Sonu had a peculiar fascination for “bad boys”, and every such boy who entered in her life has died in police encounters.

Geeta alias Sonu married twice, both time to infamous gangsters who were killed in police encounters. Geeta adopted the name Sonu from her first husband’s name, Hemant Sonu, after he got killed in an encounter.

In 2003, Sonu ‘fell in love’ and married another infamous criminal Vijay Singh, a close aide of gangster Shri Prakash Shukla. Vijay was gunned down by UP Special Task Force, in an encounter in Garh Mukteshwar. Afterwards, Sonu’s boyfriend of a few years, Deepak, too was shot down in Assam.

The sheer size of her scandalous business and a distinct knack for awfully unthinkable crimes like pushing young girls into forced physical relations following terrific tortures, went on to become her criminal claim to fame much before 2011.

This was the year when Sonu was arrested in a raid in Mehrauli, along with her four associates under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), due to crimes that she had committed more than twice.

The case which got her behind the bars for 24 years

In 2014, a 14-year-old girl who escaped from Sonu’s captivity reached Najafgarh Police Station, and described the horrific ordeal she was forced to go through. The girl was kidnapped by a man named Sandeep Bedwal in 2013, and ever since was forced to be with over 12 men. She was then sold to Sonu Punjaban, who reportedly taught her basic English and kept on passing her over to the high-end customers.

After frequent halts for next few years, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch, which managed to arrest Sandeep Bedwal and Sonu Punjaban, and booked them for physically assaulting minor girls. The Court has upheld the charges in its judgment.

The court has convicted Sonu Punjaban under various provisions of the Immoral Traffic Act. She has been sentenced to serve 14 years in one case, and 10 years in other. Her associate Sandeep Bedwal has been convicted for raping the minor for which he has been sentenced for 20 years. The court has also approved Rs 7 lakh compensation for the victim.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta