Another scam rocks state; police smell human trafficking

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IMPHAL October 24: Even as the police is currently investigating the recent JIT Network marketing scheme which duped investor of the state in the tune of more than 40 crores, yet another scam has been exposed today with the possibility of human trafficking.

Talking to mediapersons at the Orient Hotel located at Hatta, victims of the scam mainly women stated their grievances. ‘We are poor people, living on a daily hand to mouth basis by doing whatever petty jobs we can find, this person came and said that I would get compensation for my husband who died in an accident a few years back.

He told us that a sum of Rs 1 lakh each will be awarded by a court at Silchar, he took Rs 3000 from each of us as his charges’ told Ng Lingtha, a widow hailing from Chandel district. Similar stories could be heard from the 62 women present at Hotel Orient at the time.

The alleged scamsters involved in duping the women have been identified as Hamidur Rehman, 45 son of Hamid Raja of Thoubal Moijing at present Hatta Golapati and his brother in law Amir Rajak, 29 son of Hakim Ahmed of Hatta Minuthong.

The mastermind of the scam, Hamidur Rehman has absconded meanwhile Amar Rajak is in police custody at present.

The modus operandi of Rehman is to convince widows, orphans and family members of accident victims to cough up Rs 3000 as his services charge in the promise that each of them will be compensated with a sum of Rs. I lakh post a claim tribunal court hearing held at Silchar. Rehman stalls for time as much as possible for the time being and when the women get adamant, he takes around 50 women including girls in groups and later abandons them in either Silchar or Dhimapur following some pretext. His victims are mostly uneducated women from the interior parts of Chandel and Ukhrul Disrict and ignorant of the judicial system. He allegedly had carried out 4 such trips in the last 3 to 4 years and have collected his ‘fees’ from thousands , according to his victims statements to the media today.

His scam came to light when a group of around 60 women hailing from Chandel District ranging from 18 to 50 years of age were promised that they would be escorted to Silchar and back . Lucy (name changed) said ‘Rehman told us to pack our luggage to leave for Silchar yesterday.We all came and after boarding the bus were told that the vehicle had some mechanical problem and had to be repaired. Amir Rajak then said that we have to halt for the night at this hotel,we were given some rice at around midnight following protests from our side.This morning Rehman intimated us though the phone that the trip has been cancelled’.

Some of the women following the chain of events suspected foul play and contacted Rehman today morning in which there occured some verbal altercation. Rehman had later threatened them to keep quiet. The outraged women demanding clarification then caught hold of his brother in law Rajak who as at the hotel at the time and called later informed the police .

Following Rajak’s confession, he is employed by Rehman to do paperwork at the latter’s makeshift office at Hatta. Rehman is also a editor of a weekly magazine titled ‘ Manipur reporter ‘ which has an office at LT press located at Paona Bazar. Through networking he allegedly pays Rs 1000 to his agents at Chandel, Ukhrul, Imphal East, Imphal West for roping in clients and pockets the rest. It is presumed that he has collected more than Rs 30 lacs in cash from the public.

Meanwhile, a mobile call made to Rajak was intercepted by the police and it was learnt that a team of 52 persons mainly consisting of women is being stranded at Dimapur at present. With reference to the call, the women are waiting for Rehman and Rajak to arrive at Dimapur and are also at their wit’s end as their finances have run out and and there are no accommodations available. Rehman had promised that the travelling expenses would be borne by him.

Police have registered a case in this regard and an investigation is underway. ‘There may be more than what meets the eye and we cannot rule out the possibility of human trafficking’, stated police sources. Late reports confirmed that the SP Imphal East have been appraised of the situation by the victims themselves and efforts are underway to rescue the stranded women at Dimapur and to arrest Hamidur Rehman.

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