NIA busts 5 human trafficking modules in 5 states; arrests 44 people, including 14 from southern states

The operation aimed at dismantling illegal human trafficking support networks involved in the infiltration and settlement of illegal migrants.

BySouth First Desk

Published Nov 08, 2023 | 7:35 PMUpdatedNov 08, 2023 | 7:41 PM

The NIA conducted raids in 55 locations. (Wikimedia Commons)

In a big blow to human trafficking networks operating across the country, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), in close coordination with the Border Security Force (BSF) and state police forces, conducted a comprehensive operation across multiple states in the country on the morning of Wednesday, 8 November.

The operation was conducted in 10 states, including southern states Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry.

The NIA’s search and raid operation was aimed at dismantling illegal human trafficking support networks involved in the infiltration and settlement of illegal migrants across the Indo-Bangladesh border into India.

Raids in 55 locations

Following registration of four human trafficking cases at the NIA branches in Guwahati, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Jaipur, simultaneous, synchronised raids and searches were carried out at a total of 55 locations across the following states and UTs — Tripura, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Haryana, Rajasthan, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and Puducherry.

The initial case — with FIR No 12/2023 dated 9 September 2023 — was registered by the Assam Police’s Special Task Force (STF) and pertained to a human trafficking network responsible for the infiltration and settlement of illegal migrants across the Indo-Bangladesh border into India, including those of Rohingya origin.

The operations of this network extended into various parts of the country, including regions along the Indo-Bangladesh international border.

Recognising the international and inter-state linkages of the case and its complexity, the NIA formally took charge of the investigations on 6 October, 2023 by registering a case as RC 01/2023/NIA/GUW at the NIA police station in Guwahati.

Also read: SC to hear NIA plea over Madras HC order granting bail to PFI workers

NIA probe

The NIA investigations in the case revealed that different modules of this illegal human trafficking network were spread over various states — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir — and were operating from there.

In response to these investigational findings, the NIA registered three new cases to bust the modules of this extensive network based in different regions and states of the country.

Coordinated raids were executed in the early hours of Wednesday as part of the ongoing operation.

During the searches, the NIA recovered various items of significance, including digital devices, such as mobile phones, SIM cards, and pen drives.

Also read: Human Rights Forum condemns NIA raids in Telugu states

Identity documents, currency notes seized

A significant number of identity-related documents, including Aadhaar cards and PAN cards, which are suspected to be forged, Indian currency notes with a total value exceeding ₹20 lakh and foreign currency amounting to $4,550.

Subsequent to today’s operations, a total of 44 operatives have been apprehended and arrested by the NIA.

These arrests were made across various states as follows — 21 in Tripura, 10 in Karnataka, five in Assam, three in West Bengal, two in Tamil Nadu and one each in Puducherry, Telangana, and Haryana.

The NIA said that the arrested accused individuals would be presented before the respective jurisdictional courts.

Further investigations into the activities and modus operandi of these illegal human trafficking networks would continue to dismantle the entire ecosystem of these networks, the investigation agency said.