Bengaluru police on Monday claimed to have unearthed a crime syndicate allegedly involved in the illegal transportation of children to the US, with 16 people, including the suspected kingpin, being taken into custody.
The New Indian Express reported that in a crackdown, 14 teams of officers conducted raids in Shivajinagar, Banaswadi, Byappanahalli, R T Nagar, Ashoknagar, Rajajinagar, Vijayanagar, Halasuru Gate, Banashankari, Girinagar and HAL areas, Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Harishekaran, who received a tip off from the US consulate at Chennai.
They registered about 13 cases and "secured" 16 persons including Uday Prathap Singh who was identified as the kingpin, and two women for various offences.
Police said on the basis of information collected, it was found that Singh along with his other syndicate members lured a couple or a single male/female and projected them as real husband and wife, and accordingly documents were prepared to obtain passport and other travel documents.
They said Singh through his agents in Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other places brought children under the age of 10 years and paired them with the couples in Bengaluru who acted as pretend parents.
The ring allegedly used to take `22-25 lakh to smuggle a child into the US to reportedly unite them with the biological parent who are illegal immigrants in US, reported TNIE.
While the couple and the children got trained, for about a month, to behave like a family, other team members prepared fake documents like rental agreement, birth certificate, voter cards, ration cards and applied for obtaining passport as family members.
After obtaining passport through fraudulent means, another team in Tamil Nadu used to assist the pretend family to get Non-immigration B1/B2 VISA (Business and pleasure visa) from the US consulate at Chennai.
Police said based on credible information, collection of actionable intelligence and preliminary inquiry, SIT has made prima facie case about human trafficking of children to US in which 16 couples were shortlisted and their antecedents verified clandestinely.
They, however, are not ruling out the possibility of the children trafficking angle as it is not confirmed whether the children reached the biological parents in the US.