PLEASE hurry up. These journalists are clicking your picture," a middle-aged woman carrying a cellular phone whispered to Kamaljit Singh, as he was being whisked away from the Patiala House courts. But she was too late. The newspapers had already flashed his photograph prominently. After all, the crime branch of the city police had caught up with one of the capitals most well-connected pimps after a long surveillance.
The 42-year-old Kamaljit, an English (honours) graduate with a diploma in restaurant management, lived life on the fast lane. While his father is a senior officer at the Auditor Generals office and his mother the principal of a well-known public school in Delhi, Kamaljit didnt opt for a stereotyped career.
Having started off as a contractor with the New Delhi Fire Service, he owns a flat in New Delhis Greater Kailash worth around Rs 1 crore, runs Capricorn Tours and Travels which, according to sources, is a "cover-up" for the "flesh trade", zips around in a B M W car and employs full-time staffers equipped with cellular phones, pagers and cars to deliver girls to his a ffluent clients.
As a source puts it: "He has made enough money to do everything in style. He has been using, among other hotels, an inn in East of Kailash and at least three five-star hotels to put up his girls." A Panchsheel Park guesthouse has been apparently in use for over two years. It is also said that he charged more than the normal rates for rooms from his moneyed clients, who reportedly included businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians too.
Nabbed by the crime branch under the Suppression of Immoral Traffick Act, Kamaljit failed to produce an accomplice, who is absconding, in court for which he was granted a three-day interim bail. O.P. Gupta, the metropolitan magistrate, refused to grant any more time to Kamaljit and ruled that he must stay in custody though his lawyers are working on the possibility of an early bail.
Since April 26, 1987, the city police have registered more than 10 cases against Kamaljit; he has been acquitted in two. Aware of his operations, the Delhi Police caught up with the man last fortnight when the crime branch, using the reference of an old client, established contact with him and asked him to "supply some women from Mumbai". After the deal was clinched, Kamaljit agreed to deliver the girl at room number 12 of Windsor Palace in Panchsheel Park. Once the girl arrived with Neerajit Singh, another pimp who had been arrested in a similar case last year, the police cornered them. Kamaljit, their boss, managed to escape the dragnet.
The police took another chance. Falling prey to the temptation of money, Kamaljit this time set up a rendezvous near Chanakya cinema where he met his comeuppance. He was arrested along with two women, both in their early twenties, and his associates Dharmender, S.G. Menon and Tony Joseph.
Kamaljits modus operandi has been simple but effective. According to police sources, he would contact the girls, put them up at posh guest houses and ask clients to arrive at the destination. Or his outstation clients would come to New Delhi and contact him.
While his business flourished, his charges skyrocketed. During one police inter-rogation, he reportedly revealed that the rate for the average girl was between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 for a night. In one specific case, he is said to have charged Rs 50,000 for just three hours. Since he started out in the soft leather industry a euphemism for the sex trade in 1983, he expanded his racket to include girls from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Germany and Australia, besides those from Chennai and Mumbai. Kamaljit apparently told the police that he had a contact in Mumbai who helped him procure girls from abroad for his trade.
The police are confident that Kamaljit will not be able to resume his business this time. Says Jaipal Singh, assistant commissioner of police, crime branch, who conducted the raids: "We have gathered enough evidence against the man." Qamar Ahmad, D C P (Crime and Railways), agrees: "We are going to put up our case strongly, and then it is up to the court to decide." And, if the sign of things is to be believed, the sleaze operator is in for trouble .
But Kamaljit isnt unduly ruffled by the present situation. Only, he has a three -day- old white stubble that contrasts with his well-dyed black hair. Even when he walks out of the court room, hes perfectly poised. Possibly, he has a survival plan. But with two daughters at home the eldest is barely six years old he should have a lot to ponder about behind bars.