Delhi police have arrested four men involved in a massive human trafficking racket. In the past two years, the police said, they have sent more than 1,000 Indians to US through illegal routes.
The breakthrough happened following the discovery of a bag containing 105 passports by the customs department at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport recently.
"Our investigations revealed that 84 passports were issued from Ahmedabad, 16 from Jalandhar, two from Chandigarh, one each from Surat, Dubai and Brussels. Also, most of the people had left from the Delhi airport to Guatemala obtaining 'On Arrival Visa'. Most of them travelled between July 2010 and December 2010. They used Qatar, Emirates and Turkish Airways," RA Sanjeev, DCP (airport), said.
The investigators found out that one of the arrested agents, Sawan Rajnikant Trivedi, was acting as a carrier as he had a 10-year US visa. He had done his MBA from an institute in London. It was Trivedi who had forgotten the bag containing the passports at the airport.
Police said after an FIR was registered in the first week of January, the agents involved in the racket panicked and decided to hold a meeting.
"We had already issued a lookout circular on the name of Sawan Rajnikant Trivedi and his accomplices informed him about it. From the US, he went to Hong Kong and then to Nepal. From Nepal, he entered Gorakhpur via road and then to Varanasi. And then he came to Delhi," a senior police officer said.
The police arrested Trivedi, Guramrit Pal Singh Multani, Shashi Kiran Reddy and Surjeet Kumar from Patel Nagar, where they were planning to hold a meeting.
The DCP (airport) said, "After taking passengers till Guatemala, the agents used to take back their passports to ensure payment of the remaining amount. The operation of this racket was stopped when the 'On Arrival Visa' was stopped in Guatemala in August 2011. They now pick other routes through Brazil."
The agents used to charge between R6 and R12 lakh for the journey from India to Guatemala and a further R25 lakh to R30 lakh per person for helping them enter the US. The agents also provided attorney service, if required, after entering the US.
Police said during the course of their investigation, they visited houses of some of the passport holders and found that some of them died in Guatemala and elsewhere while taking the risk to enter the US.
"There are many families who are unaware of the whereabouts of their sons. Some are unwilling to disclose their whereabouts," the DCP said.
The police said they will write to the Ministry for External Affairs (MEA) to inform the US home department.