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New Delhi, 27th May 2024: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday conducted searches at multiple locations across six states/UTs in joint operations with local police in a case of human trafficking involving forced cyber crimes which led to arrest of five accused persons.

Manish Hingu of Vadodara, Pahlad singh of Gopalganj , Nabialam Ray of south west Delhi, Balwant Kataria of Gurugram and Sartaj Singh of Chandigarh were arrested following a crackdown at 15 locations in Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Gujrat, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.

NIA carried out a coordinated operation with state police forces and central intelligence agencies across all the locations. The searches led to the seizure of several incriminating materials including documents, digital devices, handwritten registers, multiple passports, bogus overseas employment letters etc.

Eight fresh FIRs have been registered by different state / UT police forces and five accused have been arrested.

NIA investigations have revealed the accused to be involved in an organized trafficking syndicate engaged in luring and trafficking Indian youth to foreign countries on the false promises of legal employment. The youth were being forced to work in fake call centers at Laos, Golden Triangle SEZ, and Cambodia, among other places, as part of the racket, controlled and operated mainly by foreign nationals. They were coerced into undertaking illegal activities online, such as credit card fraud, investments in Crypto currency using fake applications, honey trapping etc.

Investigations have further revealed that the arrested accused were coordinating with traffickers operating from across the international border to facilitate illegal border-crossing of Indian youth from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to Laos SEZ.  They were working at the behest of foreign-based agents belonging to well organised syndicates that were active in several districts of Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Gujrat, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana etc . These syndicates were further connected to operatives based in other parts of India, as well as foreign countries like UAE, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos SEZ etc.

NIA had taken over the case from Mumbai police on 13th May 2024.  It found that the human trafficking syndicate was not operating merely in Mumbai but had linkages with other facilitators and traffickers in various parts of the country and across the border.

Further investigations are ongoing.