SEVEN members of an organised criminal group which smuggled Indian immigrants into the UK have been jailed for over 80 years.
Two further members of the gang will be sentenced later this year. One man remains wanted after absconding while the jury was reaching a verdict of guilty against him.
Major Bajwa, 44 and Kuldeep Singh, 37, both Indian nationals residing the UK, arranged for seven other associates to smuggle a number of Indian nationals into the country.
Those seven are: Barzan Kamal, 28, a British citizen born in Kurdistan, living in North Luton Place, Adamsdown, Cardiff; Karzan Rasoul, 24, a Dutch national living at Dryton Close, Ladon, Essex; Burhan Abdul Sheikhany, 29, a British citizen born in Iraq, living on High Street, Feltham; Soran Rasul, 29, a British citizen born in Iraq, living at Plowman Close, Edmonton, Enfield; Bijar Sheikha, 27, a British citizen from Iraq, also of Plowman Close; Liaqat Jabbarkhel 23, an Afghanistan national; Fahmi Hakim, 32, a British citizen from Iraq, living on East Road, West Drayton, Hillingdon.
The immigrants each paid around £10,000 to agents in India with the remaining £10,000 to be paid upon arrival in the UK.
It was agreed that the victims would be handed over to Bajwa and Singh upon arrival in the UK, however Kamal and his associates held the victims captive at a flat on Plowman Close, Edmonton, and demanded more money from Bajwa and Singh.
On November 5 2014, police received a call from a man who claimed that a number of people were being held hostage at an address in Edmonton and would not be released unless a ransom of £10,000 was paid for each victim.
The Trafficking and Kidnap Unit launched an operation to locate and rescue the victims, quickly uncovering that members of the criminal gang had fallen out with each other.
Bajwa coerced a relative into calling police in an attempt to have his co-conspirators arrested, but it was quickly established that Bajwa was behind the call and he was subsequently arrested.
An investigation by the Met’s Trafficking and Kidnap Unit resulted in the other members of the gang being arrested. Over £80,000 in cash was also seized during the course of the investigation.
The victims were referred to the Home Office.
Each of the seven men sentenced today were given between 10 and 12 years in prison. Bajwa is scheduled to be sentenced for conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law next month and Rasoul is due to be sentenced the day after.
A warrant for Kamal’s arrest was issued after he absconded while the jury considered their verdict against him. He was found guilty of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law, possession of criminal property and five counts of false imprisonment. Kamal was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in his absence.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kieran Backhouse of the Met’s Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, said:“I am very pleased with today’s sentencing which sends out a strong message that people smugglers face the full might of the law and can expect substantial jail terms. I would urge anyone with information about the whereabouts of Kamal to call the Met’s Trafficking and Kidnap Unit on 020 7230 8952 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”