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Monday, June 27, 2022

Maharashtra ATS busts Bangladeshi human trafficking racket, 4 nabbed

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has cracked a human trafficking racket involving Bangladeshis immigrants entering India illegally and going to Mumbai or other cities with the help of forged travel and other official documents, officials said here on Monday.

The ATS has arrested four persons, including one from Mumbai, in connection with the human trafficking racket, but the kingpin based in West Bengal is reported to be absconding.

With tentacles spread across India and Bangladesh, the racket’s modus operandi involved sneaking Bangladeshi nationals on foot through the porous borders and providing them with fake Aadhaar cards in their names from a UIDAI Centre in Bangaon, North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.

Armed with the forged Aadhaar cards, the illegal entrants reached various cities like Mumbai and with help of local agents, obtained more fraudulent documents like Indian birth certificates, school leaving certificate (SLCs) or even passports.

“We have arrested one Indian agent, Santosh Varne of Mumbai, besides three other Bangladeshis, including a 17-year-old girl, and Kajal Shaikh, 28, who managed to get an Indian passport based on the fake documents,” said an ATS official.

The other two arrested persons, including the minor girl, were in the process of obtaining their Indian passports when the ATS nabbed them.

Varne, 52, is a passport agent for the past over 8 years and also arranged forged BMC papers, birth certificates, SLCs, etc for the illegal entrants to help them get an Indian passport.

During its swoop on Varne, the ATS recovered 100 blank generic SLCs forms with the name ‘Bombay’ instead of Mumbai printed on them to avoid detection or confirmation.

“The name of the school was stamped on these generic SLCs and the relevant details of the illegal immigrants were filled up, and then used for creating more fake documents,” said the official.

The ATS probe led them to the ‘kingpin of the racket’, Sardar Shaikh, alias Monjil Mondal of Sindhrani village in Bangaon, who had brought the arrested trio and other Bangladeshi nationals to India via the borders, and facilitated the fake Aadhaar cards for them.

A history-sheeter, Shaikh boasts of a criminal record with Bagdah Police Station under various offences, including cutting the border fencing and runnning a cross-border human trafficking racket.

The Maharashtra ATS visited West Bengal to arrest him, but he is absconding and efforts are on to trace and nab him, said the official.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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