Indian fugitives accuse former boss of human trafficking

By Michelle Sutherland
Staff Reporter

The Police and Social Services departments are carrying out an investigation after two fugitive Indian nationals accused a prominent businessman of human trafficking, after they allegedly stole his SUV and $60,000 in cash and fled to Mexico, where they were busted and returned to Belize.

29-year-old Jitendra Kumar.

29-year-old Jitendra Kumar.

On Thursday evening, Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Beverly Williams told the Reporter that the Department of Immigration has removed itself from the investigation revolving 23-year-old Keyur Barot and 29-year-old Jitendra Kumar. According to Williams, both individuals were working legally in Belize before their arrest by Mexican authorities on October 1, concluding the Immigration Department’s involvement in the case.

Barot and Kumar have been detained by the Department of Social Services and are being kept in a safe house, where they are reportedly being questioned by authorities after claiming that while working for businessman Jack Charles, they were detained against their will, worked for long hours, and were not paid fair compensation for their labour.
During an interview with the Reporter, Charles denied the claims and said that he has evidence to prove their allegations wrong. Additionally he claims that he was not contacted by the Department of Social Services until Tuesday.

23-year-old Keyur Barot.

23-year-old Keyur Barot.

At a press briefing on Thursday, CIB Commander, ASP Alejandro Cowo said that after the Department of Human Services is finished with its investigation, the men will be handed over to police to answer to charges of ‘theft’ for allegedly absconding with $62,000 in cash and a grey Chevy Equinox belonging to Charles on September 13th.
Following an Interpol alert sent out for their arrest, both men were intercepted in Mexico, heading north, possibly to the US border with US $13,000 in their possession.

According to police, in mid-September, Barot, an employee of Extra House was instructed to go to Dangriga to collect money on behalf of his boss in the Equinox. He took Kumar, who was a former employee of Charles’, along with him.

Barot did not return with the money and was never heard from again. The vehicle he was travelling in was later found abandoned in Guatemala.
Sources say video footage at the Western border confirmed that Barot and his accomplice did not past through that side, however, an inspection done on the vehicle has lead investigators to believe that he made his way into Guatemala through the Bullet Tree road.

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