Two days after CBI claimed to have busted an alleged human trafficking ring that sent 25 boys to France on the pretext of a rugby tour, neither the CBI nor the Kapurthala police have any clue about the identities of those from the district who were supposedly part of the rugby team.
The probe agency had earlier claimed that that some of the boys were from two schools in Kapurthala district and they were still staying illegally after their visa limit was over in 2016 itself. The team had travelled to France on February 1, 2016.
Kapurthala SSP Sandeep Sharma said that after CBI arrested the alleged traffickers, he checked records from all the police stations in the district, but found that no such complaint was received from anyone in the past two years regarding the missing boys.
“In such cases the parents themselves connive with the travel agents as they want to send their children abroad by hook and crook and pay hefty amounts so as to get their wards settled there,” said the SSP.
Police sources also said that unscrupulous travel agents often use fake identities in such cases, making it difficult to track down the real people involved. CBI sources too said that in this case there was a possibility of fake names and details being used by the agents for taking them to France.
They added that while two out of the 25 boys had returned back to India in 2016 itself, the remaining were still in France. “Even when we got to know about the two schools of Kapurthala, we inquired but these schools were not found involved prima facie and there could be some other school of educational institute in the picture,” informed a senior officer in the CBI.
Chief Information Officer, CBI, Abhishek Dyal told The Indian Express over phone that at the moment the investigation is going on about the actual identities and places from where these boys came from in Punjab. “The possibility forged documents and faked identities in this racket cannot be ruled out,” added Dayal.
The two boys who had returned in 2016 also have not been located so far. The boys are believed to be between the age of 13 to 18 years. CBI had arrested three agents from the National Capital Region in the case.
“Kabutarbazi (illegal immigration) is quite common among Punjabis and they can go to any extent to fly abroad as earlier also several boys did not return from various countries who went as a part of some cricket teams, school teams on educational tours, singing groups and so on,” said a senior police officer.
In Kapurthala itself, around 51 cases were registered against human traffickers over the past one year.