The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested three men for allegedly luring people with promises of work in Australia and Europe, trafficked them to India and then detained and tortured them to get a ransom.
The arrestees have been identified as Mollik Rezaul Haque aka Selim, 62, Md Bulbul Ahmed Mollik, 55, and Niranjan Pal, 51. They were arrested in Mirpur and Uttara on Monday night, reports bdnews24.com.
The three have been involved in human trafficking for some time, said RAB-4 Captain Mozammul Haque at a press conference on Tuesday.
Fake passports, forged visas, applications and other documents tied to trafficking were found during their arrest, he said.
An initial interrogation by RAB revealed that Selim was the ‘ringleader’, while Mollik and Niranjan were his associates, the RAB official said. Seven others in Dhaka and other parts of the country are involved in this gang.
They also have associates in India, Mozammel said.
“They target people looking to travel abroad and entice them with promises of well-paid jobs in Australia and Europe. They then trafficked their victims into India after telling them it was ‘easier’ to get a visa from India.”
“Then the group detains them in India and mentally and physically torture them, while making death threats. They then send videos of their captors to their families and demand a ransom.”
The group also collected Tk 1.2-1.6 million from each victim as the fee necessary to send them to Australia or Europe.
“They would take them to India and lock them in torture cells in India and Kolkata, asking the families for Tk 1.5-2 million to free them.
Recently, an individual named Jahangir allegedly escaped from their ‘torture cells’, He then returned home and informed law enforcement. He told them he wanted to go abroad to work and met Selim and Bulbul in 2019.
They lured him and his nephew Akash, promising them work in Australia and New Zealand, respectively and demanded 3.5 Tk million.
On Oct 10 last year, Jahangir gave Selim two payments of Tk 800,000 and Tk 600,000. The crime ring then sent Jahangir and Akash to India in December, 2020 on ‘forged visas’.
“There they were detained by another member of the ring – Niranjan – and his associates. They were tortured physically and mentally and threatened with death if they did not obtain a Tk 950,000 ransom from their family.”
Jahangir managed to escape through trickery and managed to return home with great difficulty. Akash is still in their custody.
RAB said that Niranjan Pal, a member of the ring, took three men named Billal Hossain, Robin Hossain and Shaheen Khan to India with promises of work in Portugal and Malta.
“They faced unspeakable hardship there, paid their ransom and returned home six months later. They are also preparing to file a case.”
Law enforcers are working to take legal action against the trafficking ring, RAB said.