Gujarat Police has officially charged 14 agents with human trafficking for unlawfully transporting over 60 individuals from gujarat to united states.
In the wake of an incident where a plane destined for Nicaragua, carrying Indian passengers, was detained in France and subsequently returned to India, the Gujarat police has officially charged 14 individuals with human trafficking. Their alleged crime involved attempting to unlawfully transport over 60 individuals from Gujarat to the United States through the Mexico border, as disclosed by a high-ranking official.
While the majority of these accused agents hail from Gujarat, some also have ties to Delhi, Mumbai, and Dubai, according to a statement released by the Gujarat CID – Crime and Railways. The FIR lists prominent figures such as Jogendra, also known as Jaggi Paaji, Joginder Manasram from Delhi, Raja Bhai and Raju Panchal from Mumbai, and Salim from Dubai. The remaining suspects include Chandresh Patel, Kiran Patel, Bhargav Darji, Sandip Patel, Piyush Barot, Arpitsinh Zala, Biren Patel, Jayesh Patel, and Sam Paaji.
Charges levied against them involve human trafficking under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 370, along with allegations of destroying evidence (Section 201) and engaging in criminal conspiracy (Section 120-B). According to Additional Director General of Police, CID (Crime and Railways), SP Rajkumar, the investigation revealed that these agents had promised to facilitate the illegal entry of passengers from Gujarat into the United States, charging them between ₹60 lakh to ₹80 lakh upon successful arrival in the Latin American country, Nicaragua.
The probe further uncovered a pattern of prior activities, indicating that these agents, in collaboration with primary agents residing in the US, Mexico, Nicaragua, Dubai, and Delhi, had orchestrated the unlawful transportation of several individuals to Nicaragua in three separate batches during December. The grounded flight in France, carrying 260 Indians, including 66 from Gujarat, raised suspicions of human trafficking, leading to a comprehensive inquiry by the CID.
Based on statements from passengers, it was deduced that these agents coerced individuals into deleting audio files and trip-related content from their mobile phones. Section 201 was added to the charges to address this evidence tampering. Each passenger had allegedly agreed to pay the agents the agreed sum only upon reaching the US.
The Nicaragua-bound aircraft, with its 260 Indian passengers, faced a four-day grounding in France over suspected human trafficking. The flight eventually returned to Mumbai on December 26. The passengers, particularly the 66 from Gujarat, were questioned by the CID in connection with the ongoing investigation into the suspected human trafficking conspiracy.
The agents, it was discovered, had assured the passengers that they would be escorted to the US border in Mexico from Nicaragua and assisted in crossing the border. Flight bookings, as per the agents’ plan, were made for the passengers who reached Dubai on valid tourist visas from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Delhi between December 10 and 20.
The chartered flight, operated by Romanian charter company Legend Airlines and destined for Nicaragua, made a technical stopover near Paris on December 21, during which the French police intervened. Investigations disclosed that all flight bookings were orchestrated by Delhi-based agents who maintained legal representation in case of complications.
Notably, the flight primarily carried around 200 individuals from Punjab, with the remaining 66 from Gujarat. The nature of these trips was found to be predominantly for individuals from Punjab, and in cases of vacant seats, Delhi agents sought assistance from Gujarat-based agents to fill them with individuals willing to pay for illegal entry into the US through their network.
In a startling revelation, agents instructed passengers from Punjab to identify themselves as Khalistani and seek asylum in the US if apprehended by US authorities at the border. This strategy, however, differed for other passengers, with the understanding that the US government permits asylum seekers to work on humanitarian grounds. As of now, no arrests have been made, and a lookout circular against all 14 agents charged with human trafficking is expected to be issued soon.