Human trafficking racket busted in Punjab’s Pathankot, 2 held

Two victims, rescued from Cambodia, had paid a Ludhiana based travel agent ₹15 lakh each

The Pathankot Police successfully rescued two individuals who were held captive in Cambodia after falling victim to an illegal travel scam.

The victims, Paramjit Saini and Sachin Saini were subjected to a harrowing experience before their safe return to India on May 13, 2023. The police have also apprehended the culprits involved in this illegal travel scam.

The investigation was initiated when Vijay Saini, son of Mangat Ram and a resident of Panjupar village in Pathankot filed a written complaint at police station division No.2. Vijay Saini revealed that his brothers, Paramjit Saini, and Sachin Saini, along with three other individuals, including Tajinder Kumar, resident of Panjupar, had conspired to travel abroad illegally. They had engaged the services of Manpreet Singh alias Mani Suro Kala, an agent from Sarih village, Dehlon in Ludhiana, to facilitate their travel to New Zealand on a work permit, with each victim paying a sum of ₹15 lakh.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harkamal Preet Singh Khakh said, “As per the investigation, it has been discovered that Manpreet Singh alias Mani coordinated with Tajinder Kumar, who had been residing in Greece for the past four years, to arrange the travel. The agent booked Paramjit Saini and Sachin Saini’s tickets from Delhi to Thailand on April 18, 2023. The victims carried ₹50,000 each for the agent, with Paramjit Saini arranging the money through his aunt’s son in Australia and Sachin Saini obtaining it from a relative.”

“The situation took a dark turn when the agent Mani demanded an additional ₹15 lakh from each victim. Distressed by this development, Paramjit Saini and Sachin Saini informed Vijay Saini of the agent’s demands and mentioned that Lakhbir Singh, son of Jaswant Singh, a resident of Sarih police station, Dehlon district, Ludhiana, was supposed to receive the money in Jalandhar,” the SSP said.

“Upon thorough investigation, it was confirmed that Tajinder Kumar, Manpreet Singh alias Mani, and Lakhbir Singh had planned to cheat Paramjit Saini and Sachin Saini by illegally obtaining money and trapping them in Cambodia until a ransom of ₹ 30 lakh was paid for their release. Consequently, on May 5, 2023, the Pathankot Police registered a case (number 65/2023) under various sections, including 420, 346, 120-B, and Section 13 of the Punjab Travel Professional Regulation Act 2014, at Police Station Division No. 02 Pathankot.

“The diligent efforts of the Pathankot Police led to the arrest of Lakhbir Singh on May 5, 2023. Following his interrogation, the police apprehended the father of agent Manpreet Singh alias Mani, based on the evidence obtained. On May 19, 2023, both accused individuals were formally charged,” he added.

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