Pune Police Raid Exposes Spa-Massage Center as Front for Prostitution in Koregaon Park

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Mubarak Ansari

Koregaon Park, 4th April 2024: Citizens are grappling with the dual menace of rampant nightlife disturbances and the flourishing illegal sex trade. Despite directives from Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar to crack down on illicit businesses, prostitution activities persist within the jurisdiction of the Koregaon Park police station under the guise of spa-massage centres. These enterprises thrive with the tacit approval of certain individuals within the police force.

On Tuesday evening, the Social Security Cell of the Crime Branch intervened, rescuing seven young women from Ela Spa located in Jewel Square, Koregaon Park. Among the rescued women were four from Thailand and three from India. This operation has once again brought attention to the prevalent illicit activities in Koregaon Park.

Two persons, Shah Rukh Ahmad Chaudhary and Surendra Jagannath Patil, have been booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. Chaudhary, a 27-year-old from Assam, works as a manager at the spa, while Surendra is its owner. Ela Spa, situated on the second floor of the Jewel Square building, was flagged for suspicion of housing a prostitution ring, prompting the police to conduct a raid.

The rescued girls, including four from Thailand, arrived in India between January and February. They were allegedly ‘trafficked’ to Pune through an agent who connected them with Chaudhary and Surendra. Police operations led to the seizure of goods worth Rs. 49,500, including cash, mobile phones, and other materials.

The Koregaon Park area has witnessed a proliferation of illegal spas and massage parlours for prostitution. Speculation is rife that certain individuals within the police force turn a blind eye to these illicit activities.

Despite previous crackdowns by the crime branch on massage parlours and Thai spas involved in prostitution, the resurgence of such activities underscores the lack of vigilance by local police station.