Mumbai: The prime accused in a case of trafficking children to the US was arrested by the Mumbai Police from Gujarat, a senior official said today. Rajesh Ghamelawala, 54, and members of his syndicate allegedly used to send children to the United States on demand, he said. The racket was unearthed in March this year when two girls, in the age group of 11 to 16 years, were rescued by the police near a salon in suburban Versova where they were brought for make-up, the official said.
Four persons — Amir Khan (36), Tajuddin Khan (48), Afzal Shaikh (38) and Rizwan Chotani (39) — who were along with the girls were then arrested by the police, he said. The two girls were natives of Gujarat, he said.
During the interrogation of the four accused, Ghamelawala’s name cropped up as the kingpin of the racket, the official said. “He was wanted in connection with the trafficking of the two girls,” he said.
Based on the information provided by the four accused, the Mumbai Police tracked Ghamelawala to Ahmedabad in Gujarat and arrested him from there on August 11, the official said. He was later produced in a court which remanded him in police custody till August 18, Versova’s senior police inspector Ravindra Badgujar said.
Ghamlewala was arrested earlier in 2007 in connection with a passport forgery case, another official said.
On reports in a section of media about 300 children having been trafficked to the US as part of the racket since 2007, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-IX) Paramjit Singh Dahiya said, “We don’t know from where the figure of 300 children came from. We did not given this figure.” “In our case, there are only two children,” he said.
To a query that traffickers were reportedly charging Rs 45 lakh per child, Dahiya said, “We are investigating what amount the accused persons were charging for the children.”