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Abandoned passports help Customs uncover human trafficking racket
January, 21st 2012

An abandoned bag containing 105 passports, seized by Customs officials at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport earlier this month, has led the police to bust a human trafficking ring and arrest four agents, including a management graduate from a UK University and a diploma holder from the prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), on Friday.

The arrested have been identified as Sawan Rajnikant Trivedi (28), a resident of Ahmedabad and an MBA graduate from Thames Valley University in London; Guramrit Pal Singh (42), an international kabaddi player and an Indo-Canadian from Punjab; Shashi Kiran Reddy (36), a diploma holder from NIFT; and Sujeet Kumar (45) of Delhi.

Police said the group helped more than a thousand people migrate illegally to the US via Guatemala in Central America over the past two years. Most of the illegal migrants were from Gujarat and Punjab. The agents took anywhere between Rs 16-32 lakh from these people.

The agents used to contact people who were eager to settle in the US and then arrange for their journey till Guatemala. The country had visa-on-arrival facility till August 2011. From Guatemala, another group of agents arranged their entry into the USA through the forests on the US-Mexico border, said RA Sanjeev, DCP (IGI).

Police said once the passenger reached Guatemala, the agents would take their passports and send them to their families in India as proof that they had reached there safely. They used to charge an additional Rs 2 lakh for sending the passports back. The families then sent the passports by courier to US. In case the passport was lost or damaged, the passenger sought political asylum on the grounds that they had reached Guatemala on genuine papers and were left in the lurch, causing them to enter the US illegally. Even the attorneys and legal aids were provided by the agents. The gang would take the help of Spanish and Mexican agents settled there, said the officer.

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