Murder probe leads to arrest of Indian trafficking 'kingpin'

Friday, 7 December 2018 16:42 GMT

A sweeper cleans a street during the early morning in Srinagar June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

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The man had refused to cooperate with human traffickers and was murdered, local police said

By Anuradha Nagaraj

CHENNAI, India, Dec 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The killing of a suspected human trafficking victim in south India has led to the arrest of a "kingpin" involved in multiple cases of labour trafficking, police said on Friday.

Police in the southern city of Bengaluru said that their probe into a "routine" murder case also led to the rescue of eight Bangladeshi victims who were being trafficked to Europe and Canada via the southern city of Bengaluru.

"This looks like a clear case of labour trafficking," said Hemant Nimbalkar of the Economic Offences Wing of the police in Bengaluru, who is overseeing the case.

"Young men from north India and Bangladesh were coerced to come to Bengaluru, beaten up and confined till their families paid large sums of money and then abandoned in an unfamiliar city," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the phone.

Investigations into a complaint of an unidentified body lying on the street in Ramanagara, an hour away from Bengaluru, led the police to a missing person complaint filed by a family in northern state of Punjab.

Surender Pal Singh's family reported him missing after they didn't hear from him for days after he was taken to Bengaluru with the promise of a job in Canada.

Singh had refused to cooperate with the traffickers and was murdered, Nimbalkar said.

"Our probe has led to the arrest of 10 people from different cities, including the kingpin, Abdul Kareem Rahman Qureshi, from Mumbai," Nimbalkar said.

During their search, police seized more than 100 passports with fake visas, five cars used to transport victims, mobile phones, gold and cash.

(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Jason Fields. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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