BHOPAL: The Indore district police is tightening its noose around influential businessman Jeetu Soni whose newspaper company had recently published a series of exposes about powerful individuals connect with the operatives of the high-profile honey trap racket busted in September.
As many as 25 criminal cases of various offences, including provisions of Information and Technology Act, capturing land and properties of others, human trafficking, blackmailing and extortion have been registered against the absconding businessman Jeetu Soni at MIG, Palasia, Lasudiya, Malharganj, Tukoganj and other police stations of the district.
According to SSP-Indore Ruchi Vardhan Mishra, while Rs 30,000 bounty has already been declared on the arrest of Soni, a proposal has been sent to the state government to raise the bounty to Rs 1 lakh. “A lookout notice has also been issued to prevent him from fleeing India,” she maintained.
“Investigations have revealed that Jeetu Soni and his aides were in possession of immovable properties in MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Even the office of newspaper Sanjha Lokswami owned by him was actually located on a land allotted by Indore Development Authority (IDA) in 1987 to another newspaper publisher Ravindra Pandit, who published a different newspaper between 1988 and 1991 there before shifting out of Indore. Jeetu Soni subsequently forged documents to capture the same land and office in the Press Complex to start publishing the newspaper there. A case has been registered against Soni on Ravindra Pandit’s complaint at MIG Police Station subsequently,” said SSP-Indore.
The office of the newspaper published by Soni has subsequently been sealed following the lodging of case at MIG police station. “We’re gathering details about other properties and illegal acts of Soni and aides from other government departments, while the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and GST high ups too are investigating his sources of illicit income,” she added.
Importantly, Sanjha Lokswami, a popular tabloid published by Soni from Indore had recently published series of exposes about influential bureaucrats and a former minister, which exposed their links to the high-profile honey trap racket busted in September.
A suspended Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) official Harbhajan Singh, following whose complaint the honey trap racket was busted in September, had on November 30 lodged a complaint against Soni and his newspaper editor son Amit Soni, alleging that a story published in the tabloid run by Soni had invaded his privacy and damaged his public image.
After the case was lodged at MIG police station, the police along with teams of other departments conducted overnight raids on residence and commercial premises owned by Soni across Indore on November 30-December 1 intervening night.
The searches also led to rescue of 60-plus women hailing from North East and Bengal, who had been allegedly trafficked for indulging in obscene dances at My Home -- the bar and hotel owned by Soni in Indore’s Geeta Bhawan area.
A few days later, the IMC demolished significant parts of residential and commercial premises owned by Soni in Indore. His son Amit Soni and a prominent staff are presently in judicial custody.
On way for production in court in police custody on Friday, Soni's editor son Amit Soni alleged "We're being framed up in false cases by local administration and police to finish my family, as we had dared to publish the truth in our tabloid."