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Foreign Ministry official to be quizzed on trafficking

The incident took place last year when a cultural troupe sent to Germany vanished from their hotel and did not return.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 15:22 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Central Bureau of Investigation has said that it was planning to interrogate a senior External Affairs ministry official, whose premises were raided along with three others, for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.

"The investigations have started in the case and we will question him as and when required," CBI Director Vijay Shanker said.

The CBI had raided six places in Chandigarh and Ludhiana on Wednesday after it had received information that Rakesh Kumar, Special Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry was allegedly involved in human trafficking.

Kumar is currently in Brazil on an official assignment.

The charges against Kumar were that he had conspired in illegally sending six persons out of the country during his tenure as Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The alleged incident took place last year when a bhangra cultural troupe sent to Germany by the ICCR disappeared from their hotel in Berlin and did not return.

Kumar was replaced by Pavan Varma last year.

Shanker added that the case was a serious one and a thorough investigation would be conducted by the agency.

"It is the prerogative of the External Affairs Ministry to call Kumar back to the country, but the agency will question him," he said. "Kumar has the right to defend himself."

Besides Tyagi, offices and residential premises of Kehkeshan Tyagi, programme officer at ICCR and two others, Har Gulab Singh and Shiv Kumar Sharma, were also raided.

Senior officials said Kumar and his associates were charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, dishonest misappropriation andforgery.

First Published: Mar 30, 2006 15:22 IST