Ukraine War Human Trafficking Case: CBI Arrests 4 Including Russian Defence Ministry Contractual Employee

(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has detained four individuals, including a contractual translator employed in the Russian Defence Ministry, for their alleged involvement in a human trafficking network funneling Indians into the Russia-Ukraine war zone, officials announced on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the agency apprehended two recruiters, Arun and Yesudas Junior alias Priyan, from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Additionally, two other suspects, Nijil Jobi Bensam, a contractual employee within the Russian Defence Ministry, and Anthony Michael Elangovan, a resident of Mumbai, were arrested on April 24.

Bensam and Elangovan are currently in judicial custody, as stated by the CBI in a late-night release.

"Accused Nijil Jobi Bensam was working in the Russian defence Ministry on contract basis as Translator and was one of the key member of the network operating in Russia for facilitating recruitment of Indian nationals in Russian Army," an official in the know of development told PTI news agency.

According to the CBI statement, Michael Anthony facilitated his co-accused Faisal Baba, based in Dubai, and others in Russia to manage visa processing in Chennai and book air tickets for victims traveling to Russia.

Arun and Yesudas Junior, who were arrested on Tuesday, were identified as the primary recruiters of Indian nationals from Kerala and Tamil Nadu for the Russian Army.

The official indicated that additional arrests may follow.

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The CBI uncovered a significant operation by travel agents enticing Indian youths with opportunities in Russia, only to push them into the Russia-Ukraine war zone after confiscating their passports.

The FIR filed by the central probe agency lists 17 visa consultancy companies along with their owners and agents across India. These individuals have been charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to criminal conspiracy, cheating, and human trafficking.

The CBI alleges that the accused, through their agents, trafficked Indian nationals to Russia under false pretenses of providing job opportunities in the Russian army, security positions, and other roles, promising a better life and education. Significant sums of money were reportedly extracted from the victims for these services.

The agents further deceived students by arranging admissions for them in questionable private universities in Russia, rather than reputable government or public institutions, often offering discounted fees and promising visa extensions.

Once in Russia, these students found themselves at the mercy of local agents, according to the CBI.

Upon arrival in Russia, their passports were confiscated by these agents, and they were coerced into undergoing combat role training before being compelled to join the armed forces.

The CBI's investigation has uncovered 35 cases where young individuals were enticed to Russia through false promises of lucrative employment opportunities, propagated via social media platforms and local contacts and agents.

"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," the Spokesperson said.


AsiaNet News

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