A child-trafficking network busted last month in Jalandhar has sent 20 boys to the US in the past three years with “fake parents”.
The actual parents of three of these under-15 boys have been identified and two “fake fathers” arrested along with a real dad, additional deputy commissioner of police (investigation) Vivek Sheel Soni has told the media on Friday in Jalandhar. Police have released the pictures of some of the boys to the media for identification and sent 13 images to the Indian embassy in the US to locate the children and bring them back.
“One of the arrested fake fathers is Amandip Singh of Link Road in Jalandhar’s Model Town. In 2015, he took Jobanpreet Singh (14) of Kapurthala’s Ballo Chak village to the US as Ajit Singh by passing off his wife, Harjinder Kaur, as the boy’s mother,” said the ADCP, adding: “Arrested on Thursday, Jobanpreet’s actual father, Sarabpreet Singh, told police he had paid Rs 26 lakh to travel agent Sarbjit Sharma of Shankar Garden locality to get his son into the US.” Caught on April 3, Sharma is in the Kapurthala central jail.
Police said that in June 2015, another set of fake parents — Davinder Kumar and his wife, Suman Lata, of Jalandhar’s Globe Colony — had travelled to the US with Jagjit Singh (14) of Bholath by showing him as their son, “Ajay Kumar”. “Jagjit’s father, Sukhjinder Singh, died recently. Both set of fake parents trafficked another three boys — Mohit, Vijay and Varun — to America, as evidence from the passport office suggests,” said ADCP Soni.
Ali Mohalla couple Karan and Rakhi Sharma are accused of smuggling three fake sons under the names of Anil, Ajay, and Ravi to the US in 2015. Sodal’s Deepak Modi and his wife, Komal, had flown there with “Pankaj”, “Abhi” and “Suraj” the same year. A hunt for these couples and the children’s original parents is on, along with the process to bring the boys back.
Between 2013 and 2015, travel agent Sarbjit Sharma, trusted aide of racket’s kingpin Sukhwinder Singh, had passed on his wife as mother of seven children for taking them to the US and other countries. Sukhwinder, also a travel agent, is in the US. Police say he’d keep Rs 20 lakh of what he would charge each set of real parents and pay Sarbjit and his wife only Rs 3 lakh to play fakes.
“The gang would hunt for boys below 14, since their passport clearance needs no police verification or other documentation, except birth certificate,” said ADCP Soni.