India busts network trafficking people to Russia

India busts network trafficking people to Russia
India busts network trafficking people to Russia

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — India's federal investigation agency says it has busted a network of agents sending people to war-torn Russia under the pretext of giving them jobs.

The agents were luring people through social media, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said.

The network stretches across several states and about 35 people have fallen victim to the racket, the agency said.

The development comes after two Indians, who were duped into traveling to Russia, were killed in the war.

The CBI said in a statement that the traffickers were operating under an "organized network".

It said that agents were using social media channels like YouTube and their local contacts to lure "gullible" youth to travel to Russia by promising them "lucrative jobs".

Earlier, a man from Uttar Pradesh state living in Moscow had told the BBC that he had been lured to Russia by a YouTube channel, promising a monthly salary of 150,000 rupees ($1813; £1,415).

"We were not told that we are being drafted in an army," he said.

The CBI said it had found that trafficked Indian nationals were being trained in combat roles and deployed at front bases in Russia-Ukraine war zone "against their wishes, thus, putting their lives in grave danger".

The agency has filed cases against several private visa consultancy firms and agents, conducting searches at 13 locations, including Delhi and Mumbai.

The CBI said it has seized cash worth 5m rupees, "incriminating documents" and electronic devices from these places and has detained some people for questioning.

India's foreign ministry had earlier acknowledged "that some Indian nationals have enlisted for support roles with the Russian army".

It added that it was working with Russian authorities to get Indian nationals discharged from the army.

The ministry has also urged "all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict". — BBC

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