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May 8, 2024

Exposing a Human Trafficking Ring: CBI Arrests 4 for Sending Indians to Russia-Ukraine Conflict Zone

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has made significant strides in dismantling a human trafficking network that has been exploiting Indian nationals, funneling them into the Russia-Ukraine conflict zone. Four individuals, including a contractual translator employed by the Russian Defence Ministry, have been apprehended in connection with the illicit operation, according to officials.

The arrests took place in two separate incidents. Arun and Yesudas Junior, also known as Priyan, were apprehended from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, while Nijil Jobi Bensam and Anthony Michael Elangovan were nabbed on April 24th in Mumbai. Nijil Jobi Bensam, working as a translator for the Russian Defence Ministry, played a crucial role in the network operating within Russia, facilitating the recruitment of Indian nationals into the Russian Army.

Michael Anthony, in collaboration with his associate Faisal Baba based in Dubai, managed visa processing in Chennai and arranged air tickets for the victims. Arun and Yesudas Junior were identified as the main recruiters targeting Indian nationals from Kerala and Tamil Nadu for service in the Russian Army.

The CBI’s investigation revealed a widespread racket involving 17 visa consultancy companies across India. These companies, along with their owners and agents, were found complicit in the trafficking scheme. Charges have been filed under sections of the Indian Penal Code related to criminal conspiracy, cheating, and human trafficking.

The accused enticed Indian youths with promises of lucrative jobs in Russia but ultimately coerced them into the war zone after confiscating their passports. They also misled students by arranging admissions in dubious private universities instead of reputable institutions, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

Upon arrival in Russia, the victims had their passports seized and were forced into combat roles after receiving training. The CBI uncovered 35 cases where individuals were lured through social media and local contacts with false promises of high-paying jobs, only to find themselves deployed to the front lines of the Russia-Ukraine conflict against their will.

“The trafficked Indian Nationals were trained in combat roles and deployed at front bases in Russia-Ukraine War Zone against their wishes, thus, putting their lives in grave danger. It has been ascertained that some of the victims also got grievously injured in the war zone,” a CBI spokesperson stated.

The arrests mark a significant breakthrough in combating human trafficking and exploitation of Indian nationals. The CBI has indicated that further arrests may follow as the investigation progresses. This operation underscores the importance of international cooperation in tackling transnational crime networks and protecting vulnerable individuals from exploitation and harm.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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