Fri, 09 Oct 2009 09:54:16 GMT

Crime: Chennai’s film sex racket takes a new turn

Today’s crime file goes south to Chennai where a sex racket case has taken a turn with film stars and journalists battling it out; so has the tiff between a US journalist and the Delhi cops. There is also a case of gruesome female infanticide in Tamil Nadu. Read on.

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`Sex bomb' creates a major row in Chennai

The so-called sex racket in Chennai has taken a new turn with journalists taking on the police establishment. In an unusual move, sleuths of the crime branch CID of the city police on Wednesday entered the office of the Tamil daily, Dinamalar, and arrested news editor B Lenin under provisions of the Tamil Nadu Women Harassment (prevention) Act on the basis of a complaint filed by the general secretary of the South India Film Artistes Association, Radha Ravi.

Now the Editors' Guild is upset and wants Lenin to be released; journalists say that the policemen acted under pressure from film artistes especially after Rajnikant held a protest meeting.

The whole incident started when Bhuvaneshwari, a Kollywood actor, was recently arrested on prostitution charges. She reportedly gave the names of many actors who were involved in prostitution. Without verifying the facts, Dinamalar published all the names with photographs. And some of them were actors of yesteryears who now enjoy a big reputation in Tamil cinema.

The busty South Indian glamour actress who acted as a call girl in the hugely popular Tamil movie "Boys" was arrested at her home after a tip-off given by neighbours who had seen her clients come and go.

Police set up a sting operation with an officer posing as a wealthy businessman. The anti-vice squad moved in after she agreed to the price. It was reported that the actress charged between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh for her sexual favours.

This is the second time that Bhuvaneswari was held over vice. Seven years ago, she was arrested by the police on suspicion of running a brothel in her house but was later acquitted.

The actress, who is known for her bold and glamorous roles in Tamil and Telugu films and TV serials, initially denied the latest accusation and said that she was with her friends when she was arrested.

She also challenged the anti-vice unit to arrest her, claiming she had powerful connections with politicians but the police would have none of it. Bhuvaneswari gave in and admitted to being involved in prostitution. And she also agreed to spill the beans on her elite clientele.

She listed out the names of the actresses as well as the charges they imposed.

The police officials have taken her mobile phone and memory chip which allegedly contain big names.

Meanwhile, superstar Rajnikant has supported the arrest of Lenin. He has said, "Even if someone is a prostitute please don't publish their photographs when they are arrested. Making them stand, covering their faces, it's so sad to look at those pictures. They don't do it for pleasure, it's for a square of meal they do. The report (in the newspaper) has pained."'A defiant Lenin has responded by saying, 'We'll face this legally.'

The daily apologised, but after office bearers of the artistes association met the city police commissioner and lodged a complaint seeking action against the publisher, Lenin was picked up.

A special police team headed by CCB deputy commissioner C Sridhar entered the premises of the daily and arrested him. He was later produced before the magistrate's court in Egmore and remanded in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, journalists Thursday protested the arrest of Lenin. About 200 journalists condemned Lenin's arrest at a meeting convened by MUJ where video footage showing some actors making derogatory remarks against journalists and their families were screened.

Next page: American scribe says he was chained and hit by Delhi police

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