They had taken about ₹30 lakh per child to facilitate their travel
The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against three agents for allegedly taking 25 minors from Punjab to France using forged documents, on the pretext of participation in a rugby training camp. Only two children could return to India.
Those named in the FIR are Lalit David Dean, Sanjeev Raj and Varun Choudhary. They have been booked for criminal conspiracy, human trafficking, cheating, forgery and using fake documents.
On Friday, the agency detained the three accused for questioning and conducted searches on their premises at four places in the national Capital.
Preliminary findings suggest that the trio had taken about ₹30 lakh per child from their parents to facilitate their travel to Paris, said a CBI official.
The racket was unearthed recently after the French authorities came across a young Indian boy who was not carrying any valid travel papers. He disclosed that he was a part of a group of children who were trafficking to Paris. The French authorities subsequently alerted the CBI through Interpol.
It is alleged that on February 1 last year, the children — shown on paper as students of two schools in Punjab’s Kapurthala —were taken by the accused persons to Paris on the pretext that they had to participate in an international rugby training camp there.
“The accused had earlier given some rugby training to the children before they left for Paris,” said the CBI official.
While applying for visas at the French Embassy in Delhi, the accused also produced an invitation purportedly issued by the French Federation. All of them visited Paris and attended a rugby camp for about a week.
“It is alleged that the children were left at a gurdwara in Paris and their return tickets were cancelled by the accused persons.Suspecting that something was amiss, two of the children escaped and managed to return to Delhi. Efforts are under way to track down their parents. We are yet to ascertain the fate of the other children,” said the CBI official.