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Paving the way for their trial in a case of alleged trafficking 8 persons to Germany in 2005, a Delhi court today framed charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption against an IFS officer and three others. Special CBI Judge Kanwaljeet Arora said there was prima facie evidence that accused Rakesh Kumar, former Director General (DG) of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), had obtained pecuniary advantage and “sexual gratification” to facilitate trafficking of 8 persons to Berlin by empanelling “bogus” cultural group ‘Mehak Punjab Di’. “All four of you, accused Rakesh Kumar being a public servant while working as DG,(ICCR), accused Shiv Kumar Sharma, a draftsman working with Punjab Agricultural University, accused Balwinder Kaur, a local Punjabi singer and accused Gurbej Singh, a constable working with Punjab Armed Police along with Hargulab Singh (who turned approver) on or about March, 2005 onwards, had entered into a criminal conspiracy by having agreed to do an illegal act of human trafficking for sending eight persons that too on government expenses,” the court said. CBI had alleged that Kumar, as an officer of Indian Foreign Services (IFS) had in 2005 facilitated the empanelling of a bogus cultural group ‘Mehak Punjab Di’ to illegally traffic eight persons to Berlin on government expenses. The officer had approved a team of 15 members, comprising inexperienced and untrained Punjabi folk dancers, to Germany on government sponsorship before his transfer from ICCR, the chargesheet said. The court also found prima facie evidence of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy and using as genuine a forged document against Kumar, Sharma, Balwinder and Singh. After all the accused refused to plead guilty, CBI judge Arora said the trial would start from July 17.


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