March 22, 2023

Gujarat: Patel family not the only victims, 3 more missing | Ahmedabad News – Times of India

AHMEDABAD: The investigation into the Gujarati family that froze to death while being trafficked across the border into the US from Canada has revealed more appalling details.
The local agent responsible for their dubious migration had sent around 10 families to the US through the Canadian border in the past 3 years. And, of these, three families are feared to have gone missing. Since their journey westward, they never got in touch with people back home.
The state CID (Crime) has already launched a probe into the deaths of Jagdish Patel, 35, his wife, Vaishali, 33, and their children Vihanga, 12, and Dharmik, 3. They were residents of Nava Dingucha village in Kalol taluka of Gandhinagar. In what has emerged as a global human smuggling racket, the four were part of a larger group of Indians who were being smuggled from Canada to US.
The large group had walked for over 11 hours in freezing cold hovering around -35°C to the US-Canada border. Jagdish Patel and his family got separated from the group during the night in the biting cold weather. Their bodies were found barely 10m from the US border on the Canadian side.
The local agent, whose name has not yet been disclosed by the police, sent the Patels to Canada in the first week of January. “He used to send people to Sri Lanka and Singapore earlier. Over the past four years, he began sending people to the US via the Canadian border,” said police.
“The agent used to send people on tourist visa to small countries like Thailand for around five days to a week to establish their cover as genuine travellers. Later, he sent them on tourist visa to Canada. After landing there, these people were smuggled in a van or car into the US,” said a police officer.
Residents of Nava Dingucha, which has a population of around 3,600 people, said that the agent had sent around 10 families from the village as well as nearby villages to Canada. “However, three of the families have gone missing. We have received no communication from them,” said a local source.
Patel family might have paid Rs 1.5 crore’
There are many in the region that decide to give the elusive ‘American dream’ a shot, no matter the literal and figurative cost. And agents take advantage of this by promising to the families into the US without valid visas, said police.
“The agent and his aides charge around Rs 70 lakh per adult and Rs 25 lakh per kid. In the case of the Patel family, he is suspected to have taken at least Rs 1.5 crore. The local agent, another agent in Mumbai, and their counterpart in Canada or the US recovers the entire amount after the person reaches his/her destination in the US,” said a local source.
Apart from the CID (crime), the security agencies from the US and Canada have also started probe in the case.

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