US consulate helps cops bust human trafficking racket

Oct 09, 2013, 01:31 IST | Shiva Devnath

The agents would take lakhs to find 'dummy parents' or 'dummy fathers' for kids and women; after passports were modified, these dummy relatives would accompany the clients to USA to be reunited with their real kin

A thriving immigration racket which involved men posing as ‘dummy’ husbands and fathers to transport women and children to the USA has been busted by the Mumbai Crime Branch, with some help from the US Consulate.

Ticket to the USA

1. According to the police, there is a certain community which the USA Consulate does not provide visas to, as they have a tendency to settle there and not come back. 
2. Men from this community, who were moving to USA on a work visa and wanted their kids or wives to follow them subsequently, would get in touch with the man running the racket, Ketan Patel.
3. Patel would introduce the client to one of his agents. 
4. The agent would modify the passports for the women and kids. They found a ‘dummy husband’ or ‘dummy father’ for the family for their trip to the US
5. The dummy father would then accompany the women and kids to the US, using the forged visa that showed him to be the head of the family.
6. Once they reached, he dropped them to their destination and reunited them with their actual kin
7. The dummy father would then return to India alone. The entire job would cost the client Rs 15-18 lakh. Graphic/ Amit Bandre

Officers from the Crime Branch arrested four people and solved the racket that had been operating for the past four years.

Investigations started two months ago, when the US Consulate approached the Crime Branch and lodged a complaint, after tracing a strange travel pattern among a few passengers travelling to the USA.

Officials at the Consulate noticed that a few families who travelled to USA were not returning together – the man would return on a separate date and time, before his wife and kids.

Investigators gradually discovered that men from a certain community were commissioning agents to have their kids and wives fly down to USA, which would be difficult otherwise.

The police have arrested two agents who are based in Ahmedabad, and a middleman, along with one of the men who posed as a dummy father.

The agents have confessed to sending more than 15 kids and women to USA with the help of forged passports. The four men have been arrested for cheating, forgery and under sections of the Passports Act.

The accused 
The four have been identified as Aslam Rafiq Panchal (48), Ketan Patel (38), Jignesh Jaggar (39) and Bharat Patel (26). Patel’s role was to seek out families who had been separated when the father, or both the parents had gone abroad on a work visa. Bharat would introduce the family to agents Aslam and Ketan. The agents then found dummy parents who resembled the child. After changing the kid’s last name on his passport, they applied for his visa. Once the kid got the visa, the dummy father and mother took him to USA and returned after dropping him.

A Crime Branch official
There is a certain community which the USA Consulate does not provide visa to, under fear that they would settle there and not come back. To get their kids or their wives, the the men from the community spend about Rs 20 lakh. We have arrested four people and are in the process of arresting more dummy parents. 

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