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NIA conducts raids across states; 5 held for human trafficking, cyber fraud

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested five persons allegedly involved in human trafficking and cyber fraud syndicate.
According to an official release, the arrests took place on Monday following extensive searches conducted jointly by the NIA and state police forces in multiple locations across Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Chandigarh.
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 National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday conducted searches at multiple locations across six states and union territories in joint operations with local police in a case of human trafficking involving forced cyber crimes which led to the arrest of five accused persons," an official statement read.
The accused were identified as Manish Hingu of Vadodara, Prahlad Singh of Gopalganj, Nabialam Ray of southwest Delhi, Balwant Kataria of Gurugram and Sartaj Singh of Chandigarh.
According to the NIA statement, the agency 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.
Also, 8 fresh FIRs have been registered by different state and union territories' police forces.
The youth were being forced to work in fake call centres in 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 Cryptocurrency using fake applications, honey trapping etc," the release read.
"Investigations 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," it added.
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.
The investigation is ongoing and details are awaited.

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