Raids conducted by the police across the state the other day to nab online sex rackets came as a shock for Kerala, as the arrested persons included Rahul Pasupalan and his wife and model Resmi R Nair who were the 'faces' of the Kiss of Love campaign.
Both of them were active on the social media, regularly commenting on current issues and coming up with posts that upheld their progressive views.
All the arrested persons are Malayalis. Ummer (28) of Vettichira, Malappuram, Vijesh, Sujith, Sony Kurian, Chandrakumar and Pradeep were held in connection with operating a Facebook page with paedophilic content.
Akbar, an infamous goonda from Kasargod and the main agent of flesh trade mafia operating in Kerala, was also arrested by the police team led by IG S Sreejith. They had evidence to prove that Resmi had financial transactions with Akbar, the police said.
Akbar, Lineesh Mathew, Ajeesh, Ashique, and Resmi were arrested in the case in which Rahul Pasupalan is involved. Akbar, Lineesh and Rahul are the first, second and third accused respectively.
The probe into those behind a Facebook page with paedophilic content led the police to busting the racket. The Cyber Cell had been observing those posting comments on the page for a long time. Detailed probe revealed that a sex racket was operating through this page.
After Facebook blocked this page on the request of the Kerala police, those behind it resumed their activities starting another page. The police had been waiting for Akbar, who had started the page and was an expatriate, to return to the state. He was arrested as he landed in Kerala last month for his marriage.
The next move was to nab those involved in the sex racket. Policemen pretended as customers to trap them. Those taken into custody also included three women from other states.
The raid called 'Operation Big Daddy’ was led by Crime Branch DIG S Sreejith with the assistance of Cyber police. "The arrested include two sisters who hail from Karnataka. Two women, identified by us, however, escaped after their vehicle knocked down a police official in Kochi yesterday (Tuesday)," said Sreejith.
"We have also arrested a couple -- Rahul Pasupalan and his wife Reshmi. We found out that the couple were engaged in this racket for the past one year. All digital evidence to nail the arrested are with us. All of them will be produced before a magistrate soon," the police officer said.
Kingpin of online sex racket is Joshi: Police
A minor girl who was held yesterday revealed that the racketers had initially given them drugs to threaten them. The medical examination of the minor revealed she was subjected to assault several times, police said. It was Kochi native Joshi who was the alleged kingpin in the online flesh trade. Police received information that it was Joshi alias Achayan, who brought minors from Bangalore. Police has got this information after interrogating Aboobacker who was arrested in the case.
Joshi started a recruitment agency in Bangalore to locate minor girls from other states. The advertisement given in the website mentioned them as Digital India members and lured under-aged girls. Kottayam native Lineesh Mathew, who was arrested yesterday, had recruited girls and brought them to the agency.
Rahul, Resmi were not in debt: 'Pling' producer
The producer of 'Pling' Manoj K Sreedhar contradicted the statement of Resmi regarding debt. He said the film project did not cause any debt for Rahul and Resmi.
"If so, it would have affected me more. I had given them more than enough money," Manoj said.
Manoj and his partner Rehna Fathima met the couple as part of the Kiss of Love campaign. They kept the friendship thinking they shared the same views and ideology.
When the idea of making a film occurred, Rahul came forward to direct it claiming that he had worked as the associate director of four major films. Manoj and Rehna agreed as they had no links with film industry. But they realised soon that Rahul knew nothing about cinema. Same was the case of Resmi, who was supposed to write the script, Manoj said.
Rahul was jobless, but knew how to use social networking sites, according to Manoj. Rahul had over 20 fake Facebook profiles. He used to comment on the posts on Resmi's page using those profiles.
Rahul also had video clips of girls with prominent persons, using which he had planned to make money. Later, their relationship with Rahul turned sour. Then, Rahul created a fake Facebook profile in Rehna Fathima's name, Manoj added.
'Sexually Frustrated Mallu' claims credit
Facebook page Sexually Frustrated Mallu (SFM) has claimed that they are behind the arrest of 'Kiss of Love' organisers Rahul Pasupalan and his wife Resmi R Nair in connection with online sex racket.
The culprits including Rahul Pasupalan were arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by the admin of SFM page, they claimed. They also posted on Facebook a copy of the petition they had lodged with the Cyber Cell.
Excerpts from SFM's post: "The fight launched by Sexually Frustrated Mallu against paedophilia has succeeded again. SFM had noticed a Facebook page called 'Kochusundarikal' misusing the pictures of children, following which the admin of the page informed the matter to the police. This finally led to the arrest of seven persons including Rahul Pasupalan and Resmi R Nair who were somehow involved in the progressive movement Kiss of Love. SFM sees this as a great achievement and we are delighted to have been able to expose the real face of certain persons."
Sexually Frustrated Mallu fights against the challenges faced by women in society and on the social media.