Crime Branch officers have arrested a Thane-based couple suspected of human trafficking. The duo had taken in a 14-year-old Delhi-based girl and employed her at a local dance bar.

Traffickers? Karansingh Ramkripal Bhedia (55) and his wife Rajjo (50) have been arrested and are in the custody of the Delhi police
Traffickers? Karansingh Ramkripal Bhedia (55) and his wife Rajjo (50) have been arrested and are in the custody of the Delhi police

The accused, identified as Karansingh Ramkripal Bhedia (55) and his wife Rajjo (50), were nabbed from their home in Savarkar Nagar in Thane on Thursday.

Inspector Sanjay Surve from Crime Branch (Unit VII) said, “The minor opted to leave her Delhi residence after she fought with her parents on July 10. Later, she came across a local boy who kept her in his house for about 10 days. But then he realised that he might get into trouble with her parents, so he decided to send her here, claiming that she would be safe in this city. He also promised to see her in a month’s time, after which he would marry her.”

The boy, yet to be caught, sent the girl to the Bhedia couple, who then employed her as a bar girl in August. “The girl got paid around R1,000 a day, which the couple would take from her. But eventually she started missing her family. Earlier this month, she called up her brother but cut the call immediately after he answered,” Surve said.

The blank call raised suspicion in the minds of her family members, who informed their local police station. South Delhi’s Dabri Police then contacted the Unit VII officials here. The Crime Branch police examined the mobile phone number from which the call had been made to the girl’s family, but discovered that it wasn’t being used by the accused. However, after examining it thoroughly and following a tip-off from an informer, they reached the house of the accused.

The two haven’t confessed that they are involved in human trade. “We took charge of the minor and the accused couple in the afternoon on Thursday. We got to investigate them till night. They never accepted that they gave any money for the minor. The woman instead pledged innocence and claimed the two of them had adopted the girl because they didn’t have a child,” Surve said.

The cops added that this could be the tip of a big human trafficking racket operating in the city.

After the couple was nabbed, the Delhi police arrived here the same night and took custody of the two, and booked them under relevant sections of the law dealing with kidnapping and human trafficking. As for the girl, she has now been reunited with her family.