NIA gets court nod to interrogate duo arrested in international job racket | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

NIA gets court nod to interrogate duo arrested in international job racket

ByRevu Suresh
Jun 12, 2024 08:08 AM IST

NIA granted permission to interrogate Jacob & Alvares, accused of running an international job racket, until June 14 in Arthur Road jail.

MUMBAI: A special court on Tuesday granted permission to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to interrogate Jerry Philips Jacob and Godfrey Alvares, arrested by the crime branch in March for running an international job racket.

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Special sessions judge AK Lahoti gave the investigating agency time till June 14 to interrogate the duo during morning working hours in the presence of the prison officers at Arthur Road jail and Alvares’s advocate.

The duo allegedly ran an international trafficking syndicate, where they duped multiple job seekers by promising them employment at a call centre in foreign countries like Thailand and Cambodia. The duo was arrested based on the complaint lodged by a 23-year-old Thane resident.

After the job aspirants reached there, the accused allegedly took away their passports, made them work in fake call centres and forced them to call other foreign nationals by asking them to invest in cryptocurrency. The employees were allegedly subjected to torture and kept in poor working conditions.

The NIA took over the probe from the crime branch on May 25, 2024. Special judge Lahoti earlier this month had refused to grant NIA the custody of the accused, after which the federal agency applied for permission to interrogate the two in jail.

The agency submitted that it had found various articles and suspected certain numbers in the call detail records of the accused collected during their investigation and sought to interrogate the accused in jail to confront them with the material.

The defense lawyer, Zoheb Shaikh, opposed the plea, highlighting that the plea to grant custody remand of the accused to NIA was rejected by the court previously.

After hearing both sides, the court observed that withholding the permission from NIA might hinder the investigation, and therefore, an opportunity needed to be given to the investigating agency to carry forward their probe.

The court directed that the accused should be allowed to talk to their advocate on the phone, if needed, before the interrogation. He also directed the Arthur Road jail superintendent to provide the required assistance to the NIA team and permitted the defense advocate to be present during the probe on the condition that the latter would not interfere with the investigation.

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