Visa agent booked after woman ‘sold’ to family in Saudi Arabia returns

Investigations revealed that the emigration stamp on Sukhwant Kaur’s visa had been made at the Byculla office of the visa agent, and not at the airport, as is required in the case of overseas travel, said the police

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Published:June 12, 2017 3:30 am
Saudi Arabia,  Sushma Swaraj, india Saudi Arabia, trafficking, woman sold, india woman sold, saudi arabia trafficking, latest news, india news, indian express External minister Sushma Swaraj (File Photo)

A visa agent from Byculla who sent a Punjab-based woman on a tourist visa to Saudi Arabia and allegedly forced her to work there as a domestic help for an Arab family has been booked. The woman returned to India on May 31 after the External Affairs Ministry intervened to bring her back.

Jalandhar-based Sukhwant Kaur (55) approached Al Saif Overseas Consultants in Mumbai earlier this year for a job. After paying Rs 40,000, she went to Saudi Arabia in January. In her complaint to the police, Kaur has said she flew from Delhi to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where she was received by the agent and then on to Saudi Arabia, where the agent allegedly sold her to an Arab family against her wishes.

After receiving severe physical and mental abuse at the hands of the family, Kaur had to be admitted to hospital and was able to contact her husband Kulwant Singh in India with the help of a hospital nurse. According to the police, Singh approached the Punjab government pleading that his wife be rescued. His complaint was forwarded to the External Affairs Ministry.

After securing her release, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter on May 30 to announce: “Thanks for bringing this to my notice. Sukhwant Kaur is returning home on 31 may 2017 at 0415 hrs by Flt G9406 (sic).”

After her return, Kaur and the External Affairs Ministry’s Protector of Emigrants registered a complaint with the Agripada police station.

“We have received a complaint from the woman and the PoE. We will record her statement and take proper legal action,” said Ashok Sarambalkar, senior inspector, Agripada police station. Subsequent investigations revealed that the emigration stamp on Kaur’s visa had been made at the Byculla office of the visa agent, and not at the airport as is required in the case of overseas travel, said the police.

The police have booked Alamgir Ahmad, the owner of Al Saif Overseas Consultants, on charges of human trafficking under the Indian Penal Code and for cheating an emigrant under The Emigration Act. Stating that no arrest had taken place till now, Sarambalkar said the police would first gather evidence against Ahmad.

srinath.rao@expressindia.com
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