MUMBAI: City crime branch, probing trafficking of minors to Paris, arrested two more carriers on Tuesday for allegedly smuggling teenagers from Mumbai. Investigators said till date around 100 minors may have been smuggled to Paris and their parents’ only motive appears to be that their children get better education and their family’s “status” improves.
The two accused—Sunil Nandwani (53) of Kalyan and Narsaiyya Munjali (45) of Nalasopara—were arrested after their phone numbers were found in the seized documents.
“Nandwani has earlier carried five to six minors to Paris while Munjali recently made passports for two minors but was unable to get French visas. Both were produced before court and remanded to police custody till April 29,” said an officer. Teenagers aged between 14 and 16 are taken to France and kept there till they turn 18, after which they apply for French citizenship.
Crime branch stumbled upon the case on April 20 after getting a tipoff that four minors would be taken to Paris with fictitious identities. Cops landed near Mumbai interntional airport and arrested Bollywood cameraman Arif Farooqui (38), assistant cameraman Rajesh Pawar (47) and hairstylist Fatema Fareed (48) in the case. The four minors were sent to Chidren’s Remand Home.
“There is a gang that smuggles humans from India to Paris,” said an officer. Elaborating on the modus operandi, he said that all the teenagers were from Punjab.
“The children sent to the remand home belong to Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala cities of Punjab. There is an agent in Punjab who contacts the parents and convinces them to send their children abroad,” added the officer. The probe is being conducted by senior inspector Ashok Khot, officers Nagesh Puranik, Vijay Dhamal and Amit Pawar, and being supervised by crime branch chief Sanjay Saxena. Most parents belong to the middle-class and they either spent their savings on sending their children abroad or sold some property to get money for the purpose. Investigators said they found documents that raised suspicions that around 100 minors were sent to Paris in the past three years.
“The children would be taken to some Gurdwaras and left there. Their passports would be destroyed by the agents. We suspect the accused may have some links with other agents in Paris who must receive the minors there,” the officer said. “We are in the proces of verification and will take appropriate action,” said Saxena.