B'luru cops to request US consulate to trace trafficked children

The Bengaluru police will make a special request to the US consulate in Chennai to verify the details of children who were smuggled by a 16-member syndicate to that country on fake passports and visas.

Sources, however, said it would be a laborious job to track down the children who would have settled down with their parents in the US. Fake parents had accompanied the children to the US, according to police.

The investigation so far has indicated that the syndicate had smuggled the children to the US at the behest of their parents living there illegally. “We had a meeting with representatives of the US and UK consulates. We have decided to make a request to them to trace the children and their so-called parents in the US,” a senior police officer said. “A clear picture will emerge only when the US consulate verifies these children and their parents. All the parents that we came across during the investigation are from Gujarat.”

A Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed a year ago under Additional Commissioner of Police (East) P Harishekaran, had conducted simultaneous raids and arrested the 16 suspects. The kingpin of the racket is Uday Pratap Singh. The syndicate members prepared passports in the name of the children to be smuggled along with their fake parents and somehow obtained visas, police said. The suspects are in police custody right now.

“As of now, we know that the actual parents — according to the suspects — are overstaying or living in the US as refugees. When they couldn’t get legal visa for their children, they approached these agents. The fake parents who travelled to the US would come back with the children’s passports. Again, all these details have to be crosschecked by the US consulate,” Harishekaran said.

Meanwhile, police continued to search more than 20 premises of the suspects and are said to have seized incriminating documents, laptops, printers and other electronic gadgets.

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