Mumbai Crime: Conmen on Twitter target kin looking for missing seafarer son
Rajesh Barai has been tweeting about his brother Krishna, who went missing in Malaysia in 2018; fraudsters, however, tried to make a quick buck by saying they found him but would need family to book flight tickets
Cyber conmen attempted to cheat the family of a 31-year-old man who has been missing for the past two years. The family has been looking for help from all sources possible and recently started tweeting about their case.
Krishna Barai, a Kalachowkie resident and Abhishek Jamdade, a Satara resident, were illegally recruited by an agent Yogesh Bhoir and his wife, Aarti, to work on a merchant vessel in Malaysia.
Krishna's brother, Rajesh, said, "We were against this job as my brother was pursuing a course in pathology. Suddenly, he planned to work on a ship."
Sometime in early 2018, Krishna went missing. His father, Radheshyam last spoke to him on January 26 that year. Recently, Rajesh started tweeting about his brother's case to government officials.
On October 11, he messaged a Twitter handle @supportembassy seeking help. The handle immediately replied asking for Rajesh's email ID. The next day, he received a mail from firstname.lastname@example.org saying Krishna has been caught for visa violations and was serving a prison sentence. The email promised to send him home on the next flight subject to the completion of some formalities. An elated Barai family then received another email that said Krishna would first be brought to Delhi and from there to Mumbai. It added that the cost of this domestic flight would have to be borne by them and sent them a link to book flight tickets.
However, this alarmed the Barai family. They approached Manoj Yadav, general secretary of Forward Seamen's Union of India for advice. On Yadav's suggestion, they contacted the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, which said they don't have such email ID. The family realised that they were being targeted by a fraudster.
Krishna's wife, Seema, told mid-day, "It is really shocking that my husband is not traceable but cyber fraudsters are targeting us to earn a quick buck." Krishna's mother, Sona, said, "I request the Prime Minister to help trace my son. I miss him a lot. I can't sleep or eat properly, I don't know in what condition he is at present."
How Krishna went missing
Krishna and Abhishek left the city in December 2017. They first went to Bhubaneshwar and flew to Malaysia a couple of days later. "Soon after reaching Malaysia, their documents including passport and Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) were confiscated. They were told to work on a barge. However, their contract said Krishna was appointed as a seaman in MV Ever Jaya," Rajesh said.
screenshots of the mails sent by fraudsters to Rajesh
Dissatisfied with the work on the barge, Krishna wanted to return home. "I received a call on February 9 from a man named Akash who worked on the same barge as Krishna. He told me that the barge had capsized and Krishna and Abhishek are missing. He then disconnected the call. I tried calling Krishna but his number was not reachable."
The family contacted Bhoir, but he shrugged off the matter after giving excuses. "In February 2018, we family approached Kalachowkie police with a complaint but our plea was not heard," said Radheshyam.
"Though the FIR was not registered, a police officer at Kalachowkie, Popat Avhad, took Bhoir's contact details. Bhoir handed a copy of the contact details to the police but nothing happened. We also visited the then DCP N Ambika's office. But nothing worked out there either," added Rajesh.
This is when the family had contacted Yadav at the Forward Seamen's Union of India. He helped them get in touch with central ministries and the Prime Minister's Office.
Deputy Director General, Shipping (Crew) S Barguzer wrote to the family saying: "Both the Indian sailors under reference are not recruited and placed on board foreign ships by Recruitment and Placement Service (RPS) registered under the Merchant Shipping Rules, 2016." The response added that since the seafarers were not engaged through a registered RPS, the issue does not come under the relevant rules and may be dealt with as per 'law of the land'.
The Barais also approached the Malaysian embassy in Bandra. "We were told by the embassy officials that the contract letter was fake. Based on Krishna's passport details, they said Krishna and Abhishek were signed on for work on MV ZIMYIN at Miri Sarawak, Malaysia," said Rajesh. Radheshyam said, "My son is the victim of a human trafficking gang masquerading as recruiters. But police are not helping us."
Yadav from the Forward Seamen's Union of India told mid-day, "We have approached the concerned officials many times but the illegal recruitment of seafarers hasn't stopped. If this does not fall under the purview of Ministry of Shipping, illegal recruiters must be booked under the Indian Penal Code."
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