Gandhinagar police have rescued 15 Gujaratis held hostage for ransom for almost two months by immigration agents. The rescued includes an 18-month-old girl.
The police has arrested four agents in this case and unearthed an extortion racket as well.
The matter came to light after a relative of one of the hostages contacted the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office and requested an inquiry into the matter.
Gandhinagar police registered a case and found that they were being tortured and blackmailed by the agents who had been trying to send them illegally to another country about a month ago. The crime branch of Ahmedabad also investigated the matter.
Many teams from the crime branch, the CID crime unit, and other state and central officials, camped in Delhi in search of the two main suspects, Santosh Roy and Sushil Roy. Police said that the Roy brothers hail from Kolkata and were living in a village near the India-Nepal border. They had opened a travel agency on C.G. Road and were living in a flat near Vaishnodevi circle near the highway.
Police said that an LOC (Lookout Notice) has been issued against the Roy brothers to prevent them from fleeing the country. Security forces of India and Nepal have also been alerted about the two suspects. They allegedly enticed unsuspecting foreign-migration applicants and collected money from them. In Bihar, would keep such applicants confined to their village. Their accomplice identified as Kamal Singhania forced hostages to call up their relatives and say they had reached Canada or the United States and ask for more money. Later, they took them to Delhi and again confined them. This extortion ran into crores of rupees.
Cases have also been registered against the sub-agents in Mehsana and Vasai.
According to the police, the relative of one of the hostages got suspicious as he stopped getting calls around the time the story broke about four members of a family freezing to death while crossing the Canadian border into the United States. He sought the intervention of the Chief Minister. It was then that the Gandhinagar police was alerted and they rescued the 15 Gujaratis who were kidnapped for ransom by the Roy brothers.
Gujarat police officials stated that Meet Patel, a 22-year-old man from Ahmedabad was allegedly held hostage for over a month in Kolkata by the immigration agents who promised to send him to Canada on a work permit. Police said that the victim managed to escape and return to his house in Ahmedabad. His father alleged that he has been cheated of Rs 45 lakh.
On a police complaint by Meet Patel, the police invoked penal charges of kidnapping, illegal confinement, criminal conspiracy and provisions under arms Act. The three accused were identified as Ramesh Patel, Sushil Roy, Santosh Roy, and Kamal Singhania.
The Roy brothers had allegedly tried to extort money from a family in Bangladesh and were planning to sell their five-year-old girl after the family failed to give money.
Police have summoned all the 78 persons whose name passports were issued. More than half the passports were found to have been re-issued. It remains to be ascertained whether the passports were lost or whether they had been sold to fake agents.