Mohammad Kalam (25), a resident of Lucknow, would randomly dial phone numbers — and usually find elderly men or children on the receiving side. In October, he dialed a number and a young girl in Kanpur picked up. Over the next two months, Kalam befriended the 16-year-old. They would make video calls and even though Kalam was married, he managed to lure the girl to Lucknow on the pretext of marriage. When she came to meet him, he and his wife allegedly confined her to a room.
Kalam, an alleged sex trafficker, first tried to ‘sell’ the girl in Lucknow and Mumbai. He then came to Delhi to ‘sell’ her at GB Road. On Thursday, police arrested Kalam while he was walking around the area, allegedly looking for a customer.
“A policeman in plainclothes found that he was trying to ‘sell’ a minor. He bargained with the accused before ‘settling’ at Rs 2,20,000 as the final price. He also managed to identify the minor through a photograph. He then asked Kalam to meet him at a decided location, from where he was arrested by a police team,” an officer said.
His wife, Shaheen alias Muskaan, was arrested from a rented house near Jama Masjid. Police also rescued the girl from the house. During questioning, Kalam said he told the girl he would marry her, and asked her to meet him. When she found that he was already married, he told her he would marry her as well and keep her happy. “She stayed with the couple for a month in a room in Lucknow,” a police officer said.
Police said the accused tried to employ her as a prostitute at a highway in Uttar Pradesh and at a dance bar in Lucknow. The girl refused, following which he decided to sell her at GB Road, police said .
On contacting her family, police found that her relatives had registered a missing person complaint at the local police station, which was later converted into a kidnapping case. “The girl will be produced before the Child Welfare Commission, where her statement will be recorded. Her parents are on their way to meet her,” the officer said.