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So far, five people from the Telugu and Kannada film industry were identified as survivors of illegal importation into Chicago for prostitution by a small-time Tollywood production manager couple.
They are Kishan Modugumudi, alias Sreeraj Chennupati, and Chandrakala Purnima Modugumudi, alias Vebha Jayam, both natives of Hyderabad but illegally living in the US. They were arrested on April 28, 2018 in Washington. US federal agents of Homeland Security Investigations have filed a criminal complaint in an Illinois court.
Couple took victims to US conferences for ‘customers’
According to the criminal complaint filed in the court, (a copy of which is with TOI), the offences took place from May 11, 2017 to January 22, 2018.
The couple purchased airline tickets and booked hotel rooms for the victims and harboured them either at Modugumudi’s residence in Chicago or hotel rooms across the country. “The accused would take the victims to Telugu and other Indian conferences held across the US to identify potential customers who would pay them to engage in commercial sex,” the HSI alleged in the complaint.
Federal agents seized travel records, recorded the statement of victims, hotel records and statement of customers acknowledging the purchase of commercial sex acts with a Telugu actress. When the US border patrol conducted a search on the accused couple, they found documents, credit cards and a handwritten note on Maritto Hotel stationery, which proved to be clinching evidence.
On the note, the name of a Telugu filmstar was written and ‘Washington DC’ and ‘January 19 morning’, ‘Room Number 2018’ ‘two times” and later Room No. 404 ‘one time’ was written.
During the raids on February 16, 2018, based on a federal search warrant at the couple’s residence in Chicago, law enforcement recovered 70 condoms, divided into multiple ziplock bags, a fraudulent US lawful permanent resident card and security card in the name of Kishan.
They also seized copies of a letter written by the Amercial Telugu Association (ATA) to the US consul general at Hyderabad requesting visa for specific individuals.
A copy of the appointment letter for B1-B2 visa of the US consulate was also found.
The US court document revealed that the filmstar, who is a survivor, came to the US to attend the Telugu Association of Southern California (TAS) star night event in California on November 8, 2017.
However, she arrived in the US two days after the TAS event and travelled to Chicago for another conference instead of going to California when agents became suspicious and began a probe.