Panama boat tragedy: One more travel agent arrested in Delhi

Punjab Police on Friday arrested one more travel agent from Delhi in connection with the Panama boat tragedy, in which some Punjabi youths were being feared dead.
Punjab Police on Friday arrested one more travel agent from Delhi in connection with the Panama boat tragedy, in which some Punjabi youths were being feared dead.(HT Photo)
Punjab Police on Friday arrested one more travel agent from Delhi in connection with the Panama boat tragedy, in which some Punjabi youths were being feared dead.(HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 22, 2016 09:26 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHarinder Singh, Kapurthala

Punjab Police on Friday arrested one more travel agent from Delhi in connection with the Panama boat tragedy, in which some Punjabi youths were being feared dead.

Ravinder Kumar alias Ravi of Delhi was arrested on the basis of the statement of another agent Samuel alias Bunty, who had surrendered before a court on Wednesday and was sent to police remand till January 24. One more person named by Bunty was absconding and raids were on to nab him, it is learnt.

Bunty, a resident of Dayalpur village of Kapurthala, also revealed that he had sent five people to the US via the sea route and three were among those perished in the boat tragedy.

Among the youths feared dead were Gurwinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh, while Jaswinder Singh alias Sonu survived and called his family in Punjab to give the news. But, after that call, he, too, was not in contact with the family.

More sections added to FIR

Police have also added Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and 13 of the Punjab Prevention of Human Trafficking Act to the FIR carrying Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) of the IPC and 24 of the Immigration Act.

Senior superintendent of police Rajinder Singh said there were high chances of involvement of more people in the illegal human trafficking racket and investigations were on to bring out the truth.

Earlier, police had arrested Kulwinder Singh Multani of Bhogpur town and Harbhajan Singh of Bhatuana Lubana village of Jalandhar in this connection.

Meanwhile, government has failed to clear the air over the tragedy and whereabouts of the missing youths.

No help available on govt helpline

The state government had also set up a helpline (0172-2740397; 2740859) on January 18. Since then as many 25 callers from various parts of Punjab had complained about immigration frauds on the said numbers.

When this correspondent called at the helpline number, the operator said there was no confirmation from the foreign ministry about the tragedy and they were receiving information from the victim families only.

“I am regularly calling the helpline numbers to get information about my son, but they have little to share,” Bachan Singh, father of missing youth Gurwinder Singh, said.

Balwinder Singh, father of another missing youth, said he was reaching out to people and government agencies to know the whereabouts of his son, but in vain.

Kapurthala deputy commissioner DS Mangat said Punjab government was in constant touch with the ministry of external affairs to get information about the incident and the victims. “Whenever the information comes, administration will immediately share it with the media and families concerned,” he said.

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