Four men in CBI custody for trafficking of Indians for combat roles in Russian army

At least 2 Indian nationals died in Ukraine fighting for Russia


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested four people on Monday in connection with the human trafficking case wherein Indian citizens were recruited to combat the Russian-Ukraine war. 

The arrested have been identified as Arun and Yesudas Junior, both hailing from Thiruvananthapuram. The central agency had already arrested two people, Nijil Jobi Bensam and Antony Michael Elangovan, from Kanyakumari and Mumbai, respectively, last month. Both have been sent to judicial custody.

The incident came to light after reports emerged that Indians were recruited by agents based in Dubai. The Indians, who were recruited after being offered high-paying jobs in Russia as helpers and security, were forcibly sent to the war front. As per the MEA, over 20 Indian citizens fell prey to the scam and two lost their lives on the Ukrainian front lines.

Following this, the CBI launched an investigation into the incident and raids were held all over the country. A human trafficking gang was also busted. The central agency raided locations in Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram, Ambala, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai.

A case of human trafficking was also registered against a private visa consultation firm and the agents involved. According to a CBI statement, the traffickers have been operating as an organised network, luring youth by promising them lucrative jobs with high-paying salaries. These men were then trained in combat roles and then sent to the Russian bases. Some of them got seriously injured on the war front. 

The statement added that Nijil Jobi Bensam, the prime suspect of the consultation network who worked as a translator in Russia, was responsible for recruiting Indian nationals in the Russian army. Micheal Antony is accused of helping co-accused Faisal Baba, who is based in Dubai, with visa processing and ticket bookings. Arun and Yesudas Junior were responsible for recruiting youth from Kerala and Tamil Nadu to the Russian Army.  

The agency added that an investigation was ongoing. 

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