Madhya Pradesh has yet to recover from the calamity caused by unprecedented rains and floods — it has been hit by a veritable tsunami caused by what is being described as “honey trap”. It is being claimed that “honey trap” involved top VVIPs including former and present Ministers and a couple of IAS and IPS officers occupying high positions. While most of the state newspapers are describing it as a major sex scandal, one leading newspaper has claimed that it was a part of political conspiracy to destablise Congress government and if possible to overthrow the government headed by Kamal Nath.

The scandal involves five women who have been arrested for allegedly honey trapping high-profile individuals like ministers, politicians and bureaucrats. These women continue to insist that they are homemakers, but are making contradictory statements during interrogation, Indore SSP Ruchi Vardhan Mishra said on Friday.

They claimed that some people assured them of suitable transfers, postings and other benefits to the candidates of their choice, the accused women had projected. “It is shocking how these women have a grip over the system and how easily they operate,” said SSP Mishra, adding that the husband of one of the accused has received benefits through “one such contact in the system” and police are investigating the matter.

During interrogation, the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) officers brought up the names of some high-profile individuals – including four bureaucrats and a few politicians, who are suspected to have been duped by the honey trap ring, but could not dig out detailed information, sources said.

SSP Mishra said nothing more could be revealed at this moment. “Electronic gadgets seized from the accused are being forensically examined to ascertain details about their contact and other things. We will ask experts to retrieve deleted data related to the case,” she said.

Police are also trying to find out if any spy software was used to secretly shoot the videos. “We are fetching their bank accounts to know if any monetary benefit is involved” said Mishra. Asked if the suspects had revealed the source of Rs. 14 lakhs seized during the raid, Mishra said, “The accused have to show and prove in the court from where they collected the amount”. Police are also investigating if more girls are involved or if they were running an escort service, added Mishra.

A local court in Indore on Friday sent three of the suspects arrested from Bhopal – Shwata Jain, Barkha Soni and another Shwata Jain – to judicial custody for seven days.

Judicial magistrate first class Rajesh Kumar Patidar rejected the prosecution’s demand to extend police remand saying the argument presented by police were not enough for the extension. The trio was produced in court under tight security on Friday. The complainant, IMC executive engineer Harbhajan Singh, has alleged in his FIR that the women had clandestinely prepared videos and were trying to extract Rs. 3 crore from him. “We will also question the complainant, but we are focusing initially on the accused. There may be more victims of this honey trap,” the SSP said.

Handling these three suspects became an uphill task for Indore cops on Friday as they kept demanding special treatment during interrogation, say police.

Sources privy to the investigations told media persons that the women were interrogated all night by senior officers of ATS, but they did not get any satisfactory answers.

The officials also had to face problems because of power cut after midnight at Mahila police station, which delayed the questioning process. The sensational discovery of the scandal and arrest of the women have given sleepless nights to those whose names figure in the revelations made by the women. Meanwhile, allegations have been made that the arrests have been made haphazardly to hush up any big disclosure that might embarrass the high and mighty. Shwata Jain, who resides in Bhopal, as well as Arti Dayal, Barkha Bhatnagar Soni, Shwata Jain and Monika Yadav are all said to be very close to top politicians and bureaucrats.

Sources say that video clips of one IAS officer, two IPS officers and some politicians have been recovered from these women.

Sources said the officers who had relations with these women became alert after video of an additional chief secretary (ACS) came out in open. One of the accused, Arti allegedly started blackmailing three ACS by making his video clipping viral. It is said that Shweta played a key role in extorting money from the officer. Subsequently, the IAS and IPS officers, who were in touch with these women, started avoiding these women. A plan to nab these women was made by some top officers when they came to know that they were blackmailing Indore Municipal Corporation engineer Harbhajan Singh. They got Harbhajan to file a report against these women and planned to get them arrested.

The biggest motive behind the arrest of these women was to get hold of video clippings and their mobile phones as they had sleazy video clippings of several top bureaucrats and politicians that might have ruined their careers.

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