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Bengaluru: A company can be punished under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act but only if it, with knowledge, has permitted the use of its premises as a brothel and is a party to it, the high court has said.

Quashing proceedings against Corenco Enterprise Private Limited, Bengaluru, a real estate company and one of its directors, Justice M Nagaprasanna pointed out that the materials placed before the court indicate that there was an agreement on October 14, 2021 which states the firm had leased out the basement space of its building at Binnamangala I Stage, Indiranagar, to Aira Spa and Salon for a lawful purpose.

As the company had leased out the premises for running a spa by the owner and the receptionist, the accused numbers 1 and 2, respectively, in the case of immoral trafficking, the prosecution cannot contend that it had given the premises for running a brothel, the judge said.

“It is the accused who will have to answer the issue and not the petitioners who had leased out the premises. The petitioners are neither the owners nor partners of the spa. The owner used the premises for the purpose which would become an offence under the Act. The company, the owner of the premises, cannot be said to have had the knowledge of what was happening in the spa,” the judge observed.

The case was registered following a raid by the CCB’s Women Protection Wing on July 8, 2022. The petitioner- firm which owned the property was named as accused no. 3.

The company claimed that it neither had the knowledge nor was involved in any activity after leasing out the premises and the entire proceedings initiated against it, if permitted to continue, would become an abuse of law. On the other hand, CCB police argued that the matter is still under investigation.

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