Trafficking Indians to war zones: CBI arrests 4 including Russian Defence Ministry contractual employee

Arun and Yesudas Junior alias Priyan, were the main recruiters of Indian nationals belonging to Kerala and Tamil Nadu for Russian Army.


Published May 08, 2024 | 12:26 PMUpdatedMay 08, 2024 | 12:26 PM


The CBI has arrested four people including a contractual translator in the Russian Defence Ministry for their alleged involvement in the human trafficking network that pushed Indians into the Russia-Ukraine war zone, officials said Tuesday, 7 May.

The agency arrested two recruiters, Arun and Yesudas Junior alias Priyan, from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Tuesday, while two other accused, Nijil Jobi Bensam, a contractual employee in Russian Defence Ministry, and Anthony Michael Elangovan, a resident of Mumbai, were arrested on 24 April.

Bensam and Elangovan are in judicial custody, the CBI said in a late-night statement.

“Accused Nijil Jobi Bensam was working in the Russian defence Ministry on contract basis as Translator and was one of the key member of the network operating in Russia for facilitating recruitment of Indian nationals in Russian Army,” an official in the know of development said.

Michael Anthony was facilitating his co-accused Faisal Baba based in Dubai and others based in Russia in getting the visa processing done in Chennai and booking the air tickets for victims to go to Russia, the CBI statement said.

Also Read: Discharge Indians from Russian Army, Delhi tells Moscow

Accused from Kerala main recruiters

Arun and Yesudas Junior alias Priyan, arrested on Tuesday, were the main recruiters of Indian nationals belonging to Kerala and Tamil Nadu for Russian Army, he said.

The official said some more arrests could be made.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had busted a major racket of travel agents that was luring Indian youths with opportunities in Russia but pushed them in the Russia-Ukraine war zone after confiscating their passports, the official said.

The central probe agency’s FIR has listed 17 visa consultancy companies with their owners and agents spread across India, the person said.

The agency has booked them under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating, and human trafficking.

Related: Indian men conned by YouTuber, forced to fight in Russia-Ukraine war

Trafficked Indians

The CBI has alleged that the accused through their agents trafficked Indian nationals to Russia on the pretext of getting them jobs related to the Russian army, security guards and helpers, for a better life and education, and a huge amount was charged from them.

The agents also duped students by facilitating their admissions in dubious private universities in Russia, instead of government or public universities, by offering discounted fees, and visa extensions.

The students were ultimately left “at the mercy” of local agents, it said.

Once these aspirants reached Russia, their passports were seized by the agents there and they were forced to join the armed forces after combat role training.

The CBI has found 35 instances where youngsters were taken to Russia after being lured with false promises of high-paying jobs via social media channels and local contacts and agents.

“The trafficked Indian Nationals were trained in combat roles and deployed at front bases in Russia – Ukraine War Zone against their wishes, thus, putting their lives in grave danger. It has been ascertained that some of the victims also got grievously injured in the war zone,” the Spokesperson said.

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