32-year-old woman who snatches cell phones for a living; a mother of eight who orders killings for money; a 35-year-old-woman who runs Delhi’s biggest prostitution racket — the Capital has its fair share of women criminals.
HT PHOTOSonu Punjaban (centre) was arrested last month for forcing a minor into prostitution.Some of them, police say, are “godmothers” who run their own gangs with men working under them. One of Delhi’s most wanted is a 62-year-old woman, declared absconding in a murder case. The woman named Basiran, whose six sons face around 99 criminal cases, had taken around ₹60,000 to pay off contract killers for a murder.
Shakeela, 53, is a “bad character” in the files of an east Delhi police station, with at least 21 criminal cases against her. The woman is accused of drug smuggling and running gambling dens where budding criminals meet. Ramanjeet Kaur, 32, dresses as a man, rides motorbikes and snatches cell phones across the city.
The biggest prostitution and call girl rackets in Delhi are run by women. There are small-time women thieves who work in different gangs. Over 90% of pickpockets stealing cell phones and wallets in crowded Delhi Metro trains are women, records show. Of the 1,211 people arrested last year for stealing on the Metro, only 89 (7.34%) were men. Some women working with gangsters are used to honeytrap rivals.
From selling illicit liquor to running gambling dens and prostitution rackets, police records feature many women.
HT takes a look at some names on top of that list
The fearsome five who rule city crime
From running gambling dens to prostitution rackets and from killing people to snatching phones and gold chains on bikes, these women criminals have broken almost every law in the rulebook
From page 01 SHAKEELA, 53
She has been registered as a ‘badcharacter’ in the records of the Shakarpur police station in east Delhi. In police records, a bad character is a person who has a criminal history and should be kept on watch to ensure there is no law and order problem in the area. Shakeela started as a vegetable seller and graduated to running one of the biggest gambling dens in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar. Police have accused her of running gambling dens where local criminals assemble. Police have tracked her involvement in 21 criminal cases, mostly those of gambling and illicit liquor.
Most members of northeast Delhi’s notorious Chhenu Pehalwan gang were regulars at her den.
In 2014, the then district commissioner had signed an externment order, prohibiting her from entering Delhi for at least two years but the Delhi High Court overruled the DCP’s order. Shakeela has cases of rioting, attempted murder, excise act and smuggling drugs against her. Shakeela’s brother, Mannu alias Anees Khan, carries a reward of R 50,000 on his head. He is wanted in cases of extortion, arms act and murder.
SONU PUNJABAN, 38
Arrested on December 24, 2017, Geeta Arora alias Sonu Punjaban ran one of the biggest prostitution rackets in the city. A native of Rohtak, she was last arrested on the complaint of a 13-year-old girl, who alleged that Sonu beat her, drugged her and forced her into prostitution. In 2011, police had booked Sonu under charges of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Her first husband, Vijay Singh, a gangster, was killed in a police encounter in 2004. Her second husband, Hemant Singh, too met the same fate and was killed in 2006 by a police team in Gurgaon. She has five cases of murder, immoral trafficking act and POCSO against her. Sonu told police that she has around 15-20 men in her gang. She claims to have gifted a Hyundai Creta car worth at least ₹10 lakh to her boyfriend last year and also given each man in her gang a second hand car to pick and drop women. Police are scanning Paytm accounts, which her gang used to get money for ‘call girls’. She reportedly told the police that she earns around ₹50,000 every day from one girl.
RAMAPREET KAUR ALIAS RANI, 32
Until her arrest last month, the 32-year-old was only a mysterious pillion rider snatching cell phones and jewellery on the city streets. She used to dress as a man. The city police had caught two ‘men’ on a bike in at least 38 CCTV cameras across Kirti Nagar market. When police traced the bike and arrest the rider, the investigating officers were shocked when the man told them that his associate, riding pillion on the Pulsar AS 200 motorcycle, was a woman.
Police have so far found evidence of her involvement in at least nine cases of robbery and snatching committed . A Nangloi resident, Rani was externed for two years in 2014. The additional deputy commissioner’s order was upheld by Delhi’s L-G. Rani told police that she took to crime after her husband’s arrest in a murder case in 2014. She recently bought a flat for ₹16 lakh in Nangloi. Police had seized 7 gold chains, 2 gold rings, 2 iPhone and 1 Samsung J7 phone apart from R 78,000 cash and silver jewellery from her. Committing crimes since 2013, she has been arrested 13 times since 2013 but released on bail. Police suspect she is involved in at least 100 cases.
Saira has a 28-year-old crime record in Delhi’s police stations. And, it is only the documented years of her activities in the crime world. Police suspect her crimes span for over three decades. Saira, along with her husband, Afaq, was arrested in 2016 for running one of Delhi’s biggest human trafficking and call girl racket. While Begum is in prison, her aides continue to run brothels at GB Road, near Paharganj. Currently lodged in jail under the stringent MCOCA Act, the couple had allegedly trafficked hundreds of women from Nepal and India. She was first arrested in 1990 for soliciting prostitution. She started as a sex worker in brothel number 57 of GB Road and later bought it to run her own racket.
In August 2016, when police arrested her, they seized four luxury cars, including an Audi. She had over ₹1 crore in bank deposits. With three flats in Bengaluru, six kothas at GB Road and a farmhouse in southeast Delhi, she had made a fortune through trafficking girls and forcing them into prostitution.
Police are probing if she runs other brothels in GB Road under false names.
The mother of eight is on the run after her name cropped up in a murder case. She has cases of extortion, robbery and selling illicit liquor registered against her in many police stations.
Her six sons, including a juvenile, have allegedly been involved in 99 cases of murder, robbery, extortion and theft and other heinous crimes. Within days of coming out on bail in September. Basiran allegedly took a contract of ₹60,000 from a woman, Munni Begum, to murder her brother.
Police found the burnt and decomposed body of the man in a wooded area in Sangam Vihar. Police said Begum had contacted Basiran’s jailed son Rahul Khan’s gang members and paid them ₹42,000 to murder her brother. Begum, along with three others, was arrested on January 10 while Basiran and her husband are absconding.
A native of Rajasthan, Basiran started selling illicit liquor in south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar. Police have also accused her of being part of water mafia in Sangam Vihar, one of the country’s largest unauthorized colonies, where she sells water drawn through illegal borewells.