The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arrests lead to global job racket bust

Following the arrest of two Sri Lankans from a central Calcutta hotel in August-end, the city police, alongwith their counterparts in Chennai, busted an international job racket.

The two Sri Lankans — Kanta Swami Ravichandran, 23, and T. Pillai Rajesh, 24 — were arrested from a Sudder Street guest house on August 27 for travelling on forged passports. Police seized all their documents, which revealed that the stamps and signatures were fake. Shekhar Swamy, living in Tottee Lane, in central Calcutta, was also picked up on charges of helping the Sri Lankans. All three are in custody.

Deputy commissioner of police, central, Zulfiquar Hasan, said the police had initially suspected Ravichandran and Rajesh of being LTTE activists, on their way to East Asian countries for procuring arms and ammunition. Later, on August 29, the city police got in touch with their Chennai counterparts and began to co-ordinate a probe on the duo.

On Friday evening, Chennai commissioner of police K. Vijay Kumar informed city police chief Sujoy Chakraborty that neither Ravichandran nor Rajesh is a LTTE activist. “They are Sri Lankan Tamils from Jaffna and were put in refugee camps in Trichy after they crossed the sea. Since August 25, they were reported to be missing from the camp. We cross-checked their antecedents after getting details from Calcutta Police and found that they are not Tamil Tiger activists,’’ Kumar said.

Investigations by the Chennai police revealed that one Rajan from Trichy had befriended Rajesh and Ravichandran in August. He promised to get them out of the “hell-hole in Trichy camps’’ and take them to Singapore for jobs. “He had taken money from the duo to prepare forged passports and travel documents for Singapore,’’ Hasan said. Rajesh and Ravichandran were told to meet Gilani, a Bangladeshi, in Calcutta. The Chennai police passed on details about Gilani to the city cops last week, which helped them pick up Gilani from a south Calcutta hideout a couple of days ago.

After examining the seized documents, Hasan said the duo was on their way to Bangkok, from where they were to travel to Singapore and take up an assignment on September 1. “Gilani was supposed to take them from Calcutta to Bangkok and then to Singapore and later hand them over to another agent there,’’ he added.

According to Hasan, Gilani, now in New Market police custody, revealed that Rajan’s modus operandi was trapping gullible Sri Lankan Tamils and promising them lucrative jobs in the Far East, via Calcutta. Gilani was entrusted with the charge of such youths in Calcutta and hand them over to another agent. In Bangkok, the youths are either left to fend for themselves or employed in Indian, Pakistani or Sri Lankan restaurants. A hunt is on to trace Rajan.

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