Nicaragua Flight Row: Gujarat CID Registers FIR Against 14 Travel Agents For Human Trafficking

Nicaragua Flight Row: Gujarat CID Registers FIR Against 14 Travel Agents For Human Trafficking

The police interrogated more than 66 passengers who flew from Gujarat to Dubai, and from there to Nicaragua and then to the European Union

ANIUpdated: Saturday, January 13, 2024, 01:09 PM IST
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Representational Image | FPJ

Gandhinagar: Weeks after a Nicaragua-bound plane carrying Indians was grounded in France and later sent to India over charges of human trafficking, Gujarat Police Crime Investigation Department (CID) has registered an FIR against 14 travel agents in connection with the case.
"An FIR was registered on January 10 based on that information by the CID against 14 accused, three from Delhi and the rest from Gujarat under section IPC 370, 201 and 120B. We are working on nabbing them," Gujarat CID Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Raj Kumar Pandian said speaking to ANI.

The ADGP said that the police interrogated more than 66 passengers who flew from Gujarat to Dubai, and from there to Nicaragua and then to the European Union. "Based on information from the last month, more than 66 passengers flew from Gujarat to Dubai, then to Nicaragua and then to EU (European Union). Those who came back were interrogated by the CID team officers. After analysing technical information and other evidence, we came to establish a case of human trafficking," he said.

Modus operandi of the human trafficking incident

Speaking about the modus operandi of the human trafficking incident, Raj Kumar Pandian said that the operation is Delhi-centric and most of the travel agents are from Punjab. "The human trafficking incident is Delhi-centric and the majority of them are from Punjab, including their main agent. For every flight 300 passengers are required. After their booking is over, to fill up their vacant slots they contact agents in Gujarat," Raj Kumar Pandian said. "They ask them how many passengers are willing to fly and based on that they send the passengers' passport details to Delhi agents who provide them with the facility of Dubai written visa. Once the visas are ready, the passengers are sent to Delhi or Lucknow, and from there they are flown to Dubai. From Dubai they are flown to Nicaragua in a chartered flight," he added.

'Three flights had already taken off'
The ADGP said that three flights had already operated in this manner before the Nicaragua-bound plane was grounded in France and have collected details of WhatsApp calls and chats between the passengers and the travel agents. "Prior to the incident in which the passengers came back, three flights had already taken off, following this procedure. We have information about this as well. We have collected details of WhatsApp calls and chats of conversations between passengers and their agents. From there it is evident that this is a case of human trafficking," Pandian said.

What happens to the illegal migrants?

The ADGP said that in cases where these illegal migrants are caught in the operation, they are given a script from the travel agents and have to convince the border controlling agents to grant them asylum.
"If they are not caught in this illegal migration, they contact those who are based in US. If they are caught, they are prepared with a script. For example, in Punjab, they are given a script to call themselves belonging to the Khalistan group so that they are given asylum. Those flying from Gujarat are asked to tell different stories depending on their age group, and communal and religious profile. If the agents, the border controlling people get convinced are convinced they are allowed to stay or they are sent back," Pandian said.


When asked if the CID gets help from foreign law enforcement agencies to nab the culprits, Pandian said, "CBI is the nodal agency for all international purposes. We are in contact with the CBI and take help from them."
An A-340 aircraft with 303 Indian passengers on board was grounded in France over suspected human trafficking. The aircraft was headed to Nicaragua but was grounded "on a technical halt" last week by authorities at the Vatry airport in France. The flight was headed from Dubai to Nicaragua.

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