Immigration Racket: FIR Against 3 Agents Who Made Victim Family Take Ill-Fated Boat Ride

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Immigration Racket: FIR Against 3 Agents Who Made Victim Family Take Ill-Fated Boat Ride

| Updated: May 4, 2023 20:07

Gujarat Police has lodged an FIR against three agents allegedly involved in an illegal immigration racket, more than a month after four members of a family from Mehsana district died while attempting to cross into the US from Canada. 

The agents allegedly took Rs 60 lakh from the family and compelled the victims to take a boat ride to cross the St Lawrence River on the US-Canada border amid turbulent weather, which ended in tragedy as the boat eventually capsized.

The deceased included Pravin Chaudhary (50), his wife Daksha (45), their son Meet (20), and daughter Vidhi (24). The family was from Manekpura-Dabhal village in Vijapur taluka of Mehsana, where Chaudhary used to do farming.

Also Read: Eight Found Dead Along US-Canada Border; Three Suspected To Be From Mehsana

According to the FIR, registered based on a complaint made by Pravin’s younger brother Ashvin, the Chaudhary family went to Canada on a visitor’s visa on February 3 claiming they were going there on vacation. 

Upon learning that Pravin was in Canada, Nikulsinh, who knew him for some time, called him and offered to send the family to the US through his connections. He allegedly sought Rs 60 lakh to help the family cross the border without any trouble, the FIR said. Convinced by the offer, Pravin asked Ashvin to arrange for Rs 60 lakh cash and give it to Nikulsinh.

The complainant took loans and borrowed money from his relatives and friends to make the payment, the FIR said. Nikulsinh and Arjunsinh took the cash on March 23 near a temple in Vijapur while Sachin was in Canada to make the arrangements. 

At the time of taking the money, the duo told the complainant that the Chaudhary family would be taken to the US side in a taxi by Sachin.

However, Sachin, who was accompanying the family, changed the plans and told Pravin that they had to cross the border in a boat, a proposal instantly rejected by the family as the weather was already bad in that region. 

Also Read: Gujarat Police: Mehsana Family Were Not Told About Boat Ride To US; Did Not Know Swimming

Despite the family’s apprehensions, Sachin convinced them to sit in the boat claiming they would reach the other side in just five to seven minutes and there was no need to worry, according to the FIR. Sachin also told the family that they would not get such a chance again if they refused to cross the border in the boat, it said.

After boarding the boat on March 30, Vidhi messaged Ashvinbhai that the boat’s engine stopped working on several occasions midway and the weather was also not good. After some time, Ashvin lost contact with the family as they stopped responding to his messages or calls.

When Ashvin contacted Nikulsinh to know the status of the family as Sachin was in touch with him, Nikulsinh first gave some excuses and then switched off his phone and went underground with Arjunsinh, the FIR said.

The Canadian police earlier said the bodies of the four persons were found on the banks of the St Lawrence River between Quebec in Canada and New York in the US on March 30. The last rites of the four deceased were performed in Canada on April 10 with the help of some of their relatives residing there.

Also Read: Police Heat On Mehsana Travel Agents Who Pushed Chaudhury Family On Boat Ride

Inspector J S Rabari, of Mehsana’s Vasai police station, said the case was registered against Nikulsinh Vihol, Sachin Vihol, and Arjunsinh Chavda under Indian Penal Code Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

“Based on a complaint by a relative of the deceased, we lodged an FIR on Wednesday against three persons in connection with the death of a couple and their two children on the US-Canada border on March 30,” Rabari said, adding no arrest has been made yet.

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