HC grants bail to accused in Nairobi human trafficking case | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

HC grants bail to accused in Nairobi human trafficking case

BySahyaja MS
Mar 18, 2024 07:00 AM IST

Mumbai resident Raziya Suleman Patel granted bail by Bombay High Court in alleged human trafficking scandal involving exploitation of young women in Nairobi.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to Raziya Suleman Patel, a Mumbai resident involved in an alleged human trafficking scandal. Patel stands accused of planning a sophisticated operation that attempted to traffic vulnerable young women aspiring to work in the entertainment industry in the Kenyan capital.

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HT Image

According to an order by justice NJ Jamadar, she shall be released on furnishing a personal recognizance bond of 30,000 and one or more sureties of the same amount.

The allegations stem from an incident where Patel, along with her co-accused Agnes, purportedly lured several girls, including a junior artist, with promises of lucrative opportunities in Nairobi, Kenya. It was claimed that the girls would receive a monthly remuneration of 1,20,000, in addition to having all expenses covered for their travel, accommodation, and boarding in Nairobi.

Upon arrival in Nairobi, the girls were received by Patel, who allegedly confiscated their passports and initially compelled them to perform dance routines. However, the situation escalated when Patel attempted to coerce the girls, including the first informant, into engaging in physical relations with other individuals. When the victims resisted, Patel allegedly resorted to threats, including falsely implicating them in drug trafficking cases and causing them harm.

The situation came to a head when Nairobi police conducted a raid at Hotel Ajure West Land, resulting in the rescue of the informant and other victims, as well as additional girls from Nepal. They were subsequently deported to India on September 29, 2018.

Upon returning to India, one of the victims reported the incident on November 15, 2018, alleging non-payment of promised remuneration and threats from Agnes. Agnes was subsequently arrested but was granted bail by an additional sessions judge on December 13, 2018. Meanwhile, a Look Out Circular was issued against Patel, who was eventually arrested on December 18, 2022, at Ahmedabad Airport and subsequently arrested for her alleged involvement in the crime.

During the court proceedings, Patel’s defence argued that the allegations of harassment and human trafficking were made two months after the first informant’s return to India. They contended that the victims had voluntarily travelled to Nairobi and were falsely implicating Patel due to disputes that arose during their stay. However, the prosecution emphasised clear and categorical allegations of human trafficking, pointing to statements recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

After considering the arguments and evidence presented, the Bombay high court granted bail to Patel, taking into account factors such as the delay in lodging the FIR and the nature of the accusations. Bail conditions were imposed, including regular reporting to authorities and surrendering her passport, among others.

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