WASHINGTON - A Sex racket run by Indian-origin couple in the USA shook the Indian Telugu film industry and new details about the victims and those who participated on the mutual agreement are now coming out of the woodworks. On Monday, industry insiders revealed that the high-end prostitution ring came into light four months ago when out-of-work actresses were looking to exchange US dollars worth Rs 14.
According to a report in Indian Express <link>, names of two actresses are being discussed on the gossip vines. Because after working in a few Telugu and Kannada movies they had fallen on hard times, but after a trip to the USA, they were looking to exchange large sums of US dollars.
Shivaji Raja, president of Movie Artists Association (MAA), told the daily, "When someone who has had no luck in the industry for a year or two suddenly returns from the US and wants to convert a large sum of dollars, people start wondering about the source of the money. I remember the Rs 14 lakh incident. Where did the money come from? Was she into real estate business in the US? Did she get roles in films there?…. No. This involves a few actresses who have fallen on hard times as they are not getting work."
MAA is holding a meeting on June 24 to discuss the issue and verify the credentials of the organisers and associations that take actors for various conferences and appearances the in United States, Dubai, Singapore or Australia.
The prostitution scheme was masterminded by Kishan Modugumudi, 34, an Indian businessman who rose to become a player in the Telugu film industry and co-produced several hit films, Chicago Tribune reported.
The ring charged clients up to $3,000 <link>for each sexual encounter, according to a 42-page criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Chicago. Modugumudi and his wife Chandra, 31, also allegedly kept detailed ledgers of the sex acts performed by each girl, including where they occurred and how much they collected, the report said.
The couple was working in the Telugu film industry until four years ago. Modugumudi worked as an assistant to producer KS Rama Rao, says the report by the daily. Actress and TV anchor Sri Reddy has alleged <link>that the couple has coordinators in Hyderabad.
A Hyderabad police official told the daily that they suspect the couple probably set up the network, identified the out-of-work actresses before leaving for the US. "They then started approaching these women in the guise of cultural programmes and lured them into the sex racket . Some actresses have said that they received calls from Kishan, inviting them to attend programmes in Chicago, but they declined since they were not sure about his credentials."
Modugumudi and his wife have been in federal custody since agents arrested them in late April in suburban Washington, on a warrant, records show.
The report also revealed that Modugumudi threatend to harm the lives of actresses and their families if they talked to the law enforcement about the real purpose of the visit to the USA.
Modugumudi told the woman, identified in the charges only as Victim A, that "it would be nothing for him to harm her if she talked to the police about him because she is small and unknown, not a big actress," the complaint alleged. "(He) further stated he had a copy of her passport with her family's name and address in it," the report added.
US Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez ordered them to remain in custody for the time being. The couple's two school-age children, meanwhile, are in the custody of child welfare officials in Virginia.