Child trafficking racket: Mumbai crime branch on lookout for Akali leader
An Akali leader from Kapurthala’s Bholath town is under the scanner of the crime branch of Mumbai police for his alleged role in a child trafficking racket involved in sending minors to Paris on the basis of fake documents.
A joint team of Mumbai police and Bholath police raided the house of Akali leader Bikramjeet Singh, a member of Zila Parishad, at Pandori Rajputa village near Bholath last week but did not find him there, Kapurthala SSP Sandeep Kumar Sharma said.
The racket was busted by the Mumbai crime branch following the arrest of three Bollywood professionals near Mumbai international airport on April 20, from whom they rescued four minor children. The accused were identified as Arif Shafi Farooque, 38, Rajesh Pawar, 47, and Fatima Farid Ahmed, 48, who worked as cameraman, assistant cameraman, and hair stylist, respectively. Sources said Bikramjeet’s name surfaced during the interrogation of the three accused.
Speaking to HT, Mumbai crime branch DCP Shashikant Satav said the children rescued by the police belong to various parts of Punjab . He said, “The cildren are in a shelter home and we have called their parents . I can’t share much information as the probe is still on.”
When an HT team visited Pandori Rajputa village, the local residents said they have not spotted Bikramjeet and his family for the past several days. They said Bikramjeet, who is also a former sarpanch, has good relations with senior SAD leaders.
HT tried to contact Bikramjeet on his phone but it was switched off. As per Mumbai police, the gang charged Rs 10 lakh from each child’s parents to send their kid to Europe on fake documents. These children would, after turning 18, apply for citizenship in that country.
The three accused had reportedly confessed to have taken 15 children to Europe earlier. After taking them to France, the accused used to leave the children there.