Po­lice bust child traf­fick­ing racket

Seven held in Chen­nai, one in the U.K., for traf­fick­ing to Europe and the U.S.

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - R. Si­vara­man

The city po­lice have busted a child traf­fick­ing racket run out of Chen­nai and Delhi air­ports. A woman pas­sen­ger who is sus­pected to have in­dulged in the crime seven times has been ar­rested. The con­nivance of some im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers is sus­pected. The break­through fol­lowed an in­put from the For­eign­ers’ Re­gional Reg­is­tra­tion of­fice, Chen­nai.

The Chen­nai city po­lice have busted a hu­man traf­fick­ing racket run out of Chen­nai and Delhi air­ports. A woman pas­sen­ger who is sus­pected to have in­dulged in the crime seven times us­ing In­dian pass­ports has been ar­rested. The con­nivance of some im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers is sus­pected.

The break­through fol­lowed an in­put from the For­eign­ers’ Re­gional Reg­is­tra­tion of­fice, Chen­nai.

The mat­ter came to light a week ago when A.K. Singh, As­sis­tant For­eign­ers’ Re­gional Reg­is­tra­tion Of­fi­cer, re­ceived an in­put about Haru Manju Datta, who was bound for the United King­dom ac­com­pa­nied by a per­son who was under 18 years, im­per­son­at­ing her own son, also bound for the U.K., through the Chen­nai in­ter­na­tional air­port.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources, Haru Manju Datta had since been ar­rested by the au­thor­i­ties in the U.K.

“There is prima fa­cie ev­i­dence of Haru Manju Datta be­ing in­volved in child traf­fick­ing in con­nivance with agents and im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers in Chen­nai and Delhi air­ports,” said K. Ra­jesh Kanna, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cer with the Fake Pass­port Team, Cen­tral Crime Branch.

The CCB has ar­rested seven per­sons in­clud­ing two im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials. They are D. Jayas­ingh and R. Stephan of Chen­nai. Also nabbed are agents S. Vinothku­mar, D. Tamil­maran, D. Jep­piar and M. Natara­jan. They re­port­edly charged ₹6 lakh each and sent per­sons to the U.K., the U.S. and Euro­pean coun­tries.

An en­quiry was con­ducted ver­i­fy­ing records in the sys­tem and CCTV footage. From the CCTV footage the po­lice found that at 3.26 a.m. on April 9, Haru Manju ac­com­pa­nied by a boy im­per­son­ator en­tered the im­mi­gra­tion de­par­ture hall of Chen­nai air­port. They crossed the queue man­ager and went di­rectly to counter 21 manned by D. Jayas­ingh, im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer.

The CCTV footage was shown to the source, who con­firmed the pres­ence of two agents in the vis­i­tors’ gallery who were re­port­edly giv­ing di­rec­tions over the phone.

Po­lice said it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the im­mi­gra­tion counter of­fi­cer to check the pre­vi­ous travel records of a pas­sen­ger be­fore giv­ing clear­ance. In this case, the in­con­sis­ten­cies were over­looked by the counter of­fi­cer.

Sys­tem alert

A po­lice source said, “When­ever there is no cor­re­spond­ing ar­rival for a de­par­ture, the sys­tem will give an alert thus: “Cor­re­spond­ing ar­rival/ de­par­ture records miss­ing in im­mi­gra­tion data. Please scru­ti­nise im­mi­gra­tion records care­fully and take nec­es­sary ac­tion if any­thing ad­verse is no­ticed.”

In this case, the pass­port had been used seven times by Haru Manju Datta for a child. On all seven oc­ca­sions, only the de­par­ture stamp was there and no cor­re­spond­ing ar­rival stamp. “It showed that traf­fick­ing had been done by Haru Manju Datta in con­nivance with im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers and agents,” a source said.

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