Hyderabad: The illegal human trafficking case with the involvement of public servants dates back to 2007. There were two instances where two former MLAs of Telangana Rashtra Samiti were arrested by the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh police.
Almost 14 years after registering the case against the then TRS MLA from Nerella Mr Kasipeta Lingaiah and six others, the city police are still clueless about the details of the woman who was supposedly trafficked to the United States. The case is also registered against the woman for obtaining a passport by impersonating as the wife of Lingaiah.
It was in 2007 when the racket came to light with the US Embassy in Chennai finding disparities while processing the visas of the applicants. The Embassy then alerted the Regional Passport Office at Hyderabad and then the scam was unearthed after the Central Crime Station (CCS) sleuths registered a case.
The investigation in the case was halted for almost 12 years as the then governments did not give permission for prosecution of the arrested politicos. However, in 2016, the State Government sanctioned permission to the CCS police to proceed further in the case.
Speaking about the case, a senior police official from CCS said “There was a delay in giving permission for the prosecution in the said case. After obtaining the permission, a charge-sheet was filed in a court in 2016 and which is currently under trial.”
“Unlike the cases registered under IPC, the cases booked under Passport Act needs permission from the State Government for the prosecution due to which, the case was pending for a long time,” said the official.
Another senior official from CCS said that there are seven accused persons in the case on whom the charge-sheet had been filed. They are ex-MLA Lingaiah, Ashok Bhai Patel and one Sumitra Ben for whom the passport was obtained as the public servant’s wife, agents Rasheed Ali, Muzaffar Ali Khan, Sangeeta Ben Patel, Rajendra Kumar Pette alias Raju Pette and Bharat Bhai Shankar Bhai Patel.
“So far, there are no clues about Sumitra Ben. She could not leave for the US but is absconding. The MLA showed Sumitra as his wife Tara during police verification and obtained a passport for her on his wife’s name. However, a charge-sheet is filed against all the accused,” said the official.
In another case, the then Boath MLA Soyam Babu Rao was also arrested on similar charges, which is now being dealt by the Crime Investigation Department. The case was registered in 2007 and under sections 468, 471, 419 and 420 of IPC and section 12 (1) (b) of the Indian Passport Act. He was also charge sheeted.