Thursday, July 27, 2006

US, Canadian team to conduct joint probe with Punjab cops

US, Canadian team to conduct joint probe with Punjab cops
Harpreet Bajwa Indian Express

Chandigarh, July 26: THE USA and Canadian immigration and law enforcement agencies, along with the Punjab Police, will conduct joint investigations into human trafficking, narcotic smuggling and community-specific crimes, including dowry, domestic violence and forceful marriages.

Sources in the police said a high-level team of the US immigration and enforcement services— along with Canadian E Division Border Integrity Programme officials and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials— recently held a meeting with intelligence and crime wing officials of the Punjab Police.

The visiting team gave presentations on active gangs of human traffickers, whose networks were spread over several parts of India, with Punjab and Mumbai being the nodal centres of their activities.

Sources said a Punjabi human trafficker, Kewal Multani, who was recently arrested by US authorities, had about 20 persons working for him in India, mainly Punjab, who illegally send people to the US and Canada. “Multani’s and other gangs are now using hi-tech methods to carry out their operations. In Canada and the US, these gangs have their operators both on the eastern and the western coast, and Seattle is the nerve centre of their operations. They specialise in ferrying people from the US to Canada and vice-versa,” said a Punjab Police officer.
The other point discussed at the meeting was narcotic smuggling. The Punjab Police were informed that women from India were being sent with consignments of drugs to Canada, as airport authorities were less strict there.

The foreign team also wanted help from the Indian counterparts in tackling community-specific crimes, for they feel that understanding the social fabric is important to solve the cases.
A senior officer said, “This joint team of US and Canadian officials has also visited Mumbai.”
Punjab Police officials informed the team that last year, they arrested 250 persons for human trafficking, which is a Rs 500-crore per annum business.


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