Police arrested three persons, including a woman, for alleged child trafficking from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) here just before they were to board a flight to Paris. The Anti-theft and robbery squad of the Crime Branch rescued four children aged between 14 to 16 years from the traffickers from terminal-2 yesterday, Sashikant Satav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), said today. The accused were identified as Arif Farooqui (38) Rajesh Pawar (47) and Fatima Ahmed (48), while efforts are on to nab an agent from Punjab, who is on the run, he added.
Cops suspect a big racket wherein children are trafficked to Europe to get citizenship of the respective countries after they attain 18 years of age, said the officer. At least six passports, European visas and 3,000 Euros have been recovered from the trio, he said. Farooqui is a photographer, Pawar is an assistant cameraman and Fatima is a hairstylist of some Bollywood celebrities, the official said.
The rescued children hail from Punjab and were sent by an agent with consent of their parents, he said. As per the investigation, the accused were charging Rs 10 lakh per children to send them to European countries, he added. Explaining the modus operandi, the officer said Farooqui used to make passport of these children with names of Pawar and Fatima as their parents. For this purpose, he (Farooqui) used to submit fake birth certificate and school identity card, he said.
After going to Europe, the children used to work at religious places and stay with Indian families till the age of 18, the official said. After becoming major they possibly got citizenship of respective countries after which they could take their parents along, the official said. During interrogation the accused persons claimed that they had sent more than 15 such kids to Europe by using the same modus operandi, the official said.