Based on information from France, the CBI has registered a case against three suspected trafficking agents for allegedly sending 25 minor boys to France on the pretext of a rugby training camp. The racket came to light after French authorities apprehended one of the trafficked boys recently and informed Interpol. The international agency in turn informed the CBI, which registered a preliminary enquiry. The agency also conducted raids at four places in Delhi and Punjab in connection with the case.
The three suspects were identified as Lalit David Dean, Sanjeev Raj and Varun Choudhary, from Delhi and Faridabad. They allegedly lured the boys in February 2016. Two of the boys have returned while there is no trace of 22 other boys in France, CBI sources said. The parents of these boys — aged between 13 and 18 years — belong to Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, the sources said. Each was charged Rs 25-30 lakh for the trip, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
To win the confidence of the parents, the agents even organised a small rugby training session in India and procured an invitation card from France for the purported rugby match to get visas issued by the French embassy, sources said.
“It was further alleged that on 01.02.2016, a group of 25 students shown as students of two Kapurthala (Punjab)-based schools led by said private persons embarked at Delhi Airport to Paris – CDG to participate in International RUGBY Training Camp in Paris on the basis of alleged invitation received from French Federation, Paris. All of them visited Paris and thereafter, the said 25 students also attended a RUGBY training camp at Paris for about a week,” a CBI statement said.
It added, “It was also alleged that the visa in respect of said students were obtained from French Embassy at Delhi on the basis of forged and fabricated documents. It was further alleged that all the 25 children were left in Paris and their return tickets were got cancelled by said accused persons. However, 02 students could return to Delhi.”
Sources said the students were taken to France and left in a gurdwara, with agents holding their passport and travel documents. “In fact, a week’s rugby session was organised there in France as well,” said an officer.
Two boys reportedly returned to India before the cancellation of return tickets.
When asked if the CBI had received any complaints from the parents, the officer said, “No. But it is possible that complaints are registered with state police forces, which we will check now.”
The CBI is also exploring if parents had connived with the agents — who are missing — to send their kids to France. Sources say that during raids on three agents on Friday, laptops carrying incriminating data about the network has been found, which is being scanned.