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Sex stimulants found in Katara's baggage

Police say the suspended BJP MP could also be involved with some women.

delhi Updated: Apr 24, 2007 01:44 IST

A quantity of locally-made Viagra and sex stimulants were recovered from the baggage of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babubhai Katara during search following his arrest at Delhi airport for trying to fly a woman and teenager to Toronto on the diplomatic passports of his family.

"We recovered some sex stimulants from the MP's baggage. He might have kept it for his personal use," a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

Katara was arrested on Wednesday with one Paramjeet Kaur and a 15-year-old boy, Amarjeet Singh, who were posing as his wife and son.

The locally made sex stimulants were recovered from his baggage along with his other belongings. The police claimed they had recovered at least three passports from Katara's possession and were checking the authenticity of the documents.

The officials said Katara could also be involved with some women. However, a senior police official said: "Though we recovered the pills from the parliamentarian, we are not investigating the matter ".

"Keeping such things is not a crime, everyone has the freedom to use them," he added.

The arrest of the BJP MP from Dahod in Gujarat blew off the lid of what now appears to be a well-planned international human trafficking racket.

The Gujarat lawmaker was planning to fly out Paramjeet and Amarjeet to Toronto just as he had done on three occasions earlier using the same modus operandi in the past few years.

However, his plans went to nought when a woman passenger of the same Toronto-bound plane lost her passport and blamed the airport staff for it.

The Air India staff launched a search immediately to trace the missing passport. When checking the passports of Katara and his "family", they found that the photographs did not match the face of the passengers.

"They informed the immigration officials and an enquiry was begun immediately," a Delhi Police official said.

"During the course of investigation, the suspicions of police were aroused when Kaur uttered her real name when asked instead of giving the name of Katara's wife, Shardaben, as given on the passport she was travelling with," he added.

He revealed that both Katara and Kaur came out with two different tales after being questioned separately by immigration officials.

Initially Katara claimed that he was travelling with his wife, but upon persistent questioning admitted that the woman was not his wife. He revealed that Paramjeet Kaur was travelling on his wife's passport and he had got her photograph affixed on top of his wife's.

The airport authorities cross-checked and found that Katara's wife was still in Gujarat.

The BJP MP was arrested with his clients under charges of impersonation, travelling with forged documents and cheating of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case was later handed over to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police.

To lawmaker had done his homework properly before executing what would have been his fourth stint at human trafficking. As per the deal, Katara and his two clients were expected to board Air India flight 187 scheduled for Canada. The clients had fixed a Rs 2.7 million deal with Katara, which was to be paid to the MP after their arrival in Toronto.

Sensing no fraud, and wishing to cause no inconvenience to the honourable MP and his "family", the airport authorities had immediately released the three boarding passes to facilitate a smooth journey. Indian MPs and other important politicians are allowed easy passage at the airports due to their VVIP status.

"Our initial investigations indicate that Katara had used a similar modus operandi to smuggle some people to London and the US in the last two years," the police official said.

Police have voiced suspicion on the role of immigration officials in the human trafficking racket. They maintain the diplomatic passports of Katara's wife and son were found to bear post-dated arrival stamps here, despite the fact that the woman and the boy accompanying Katara were yet to take the outgoing flight.

The three were produced in a city court and sent on police remand.

On Saturday, Sunder Lal Yadav, a travel agent, was arrested with Katara's aide Rajendra Kumar Gampa and their female accomplice Kiran Dhar from the city.

While Gampa, a part-time office assistant of the MP, was held on charges of forging documents and passports, Yadav was charged with arranging visas, police said.

Kiran Dhar allegedly "trained" women travelling with MPs on forged passports on how to behave and speak at the immigration counter and on flights. "She taught women how to carry themselves while travelling with the MPs," Deputy Commissioner of Police Neeraj Thakur said.

Sunder Lal Yadav told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau that lawmakers Mohammed Tahir Khan of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Ramswaroop Koli also of BJP were also at the heart of the racket that involved sending people abroad on the diplomatic passports of politicians' family or forged documents provided they coughed up big money.

Yadav, who apparently knew many MPs as he stayed in the house of one of them, said Ram Awadh, a former MP who is no more, was also linked to the scandal.

Yadav said he and Gampa had met the BJP MP thrice to facilitate the travel of Paramjeet Kaur and the 15-year-old boy with Katara.

"Going by the admissions so far, this clearly looks like a major racket spanning several states and has been running successfully for many years with the connivance of top politicians," a senior police officer said.

With more skeletons tumbling out of the cupboard, police officials said the full picture of the trafficking syndicate was yet to unfold.

First Published: Apr 22, 2007 12:59 IST