Social media influencer Bobby Kataria held for human trafficking

Two men approached Gurugram police claiming that Kataria had defrauded them of more than Rs 4 lakh in the guise of getting them employed abroad

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Bobby Kataria

Bobby Kataria

Delhi: Controversial social media influencer Bobby Kataria was arrested for alleged human trafficking on Monday, officials said.

Two men approached Gurugram police claiming that Kataria had defrauded them of more than Rs 4 lakh in the guise of getting them employed abroad.

According to the complaint filed by Arun Kumar, a native of Fatehpur, and Manish Tomar, a resident of Dholana in Uttar Pradesh, they came across an advertisement on Instagram offering an opportunity to work abroad.

The ad was posted from the official Instagram ID and YouTube channel of Kataria. Upon contacting the influencer, they were asked to meet him in his office at a Gurugram mall.

"I met Kataria on February 1 in his office and he gave me assurance of getting a job in the UAE after taking Rs 2,000 as a registration charge. I then transferred Rs 1.5 lakh to his account and got a ticket for Vientiane (capital of Laos)," Kumar told the police.

"Similarly, my friend Tomar was also assured of getting a job in Singapore. Kataria charged Rs 2.59 lakh from Tomar and he too got a ticket to Vientiane and boarded the flight on March 28," Kumar said.

“When we landed at the airport in Vientiane, we met a person named Abhi who introduced himself as a friend of Kataria. A Pakistani man then dropped us at a hotel,” he said.

"The next day, we were taken to an anonymous Chinese company, where we were thrashed and our passports were taken away. We were forced to commit cyber fraud targeting US citizens. Around 150 Indians, including women, had been brought there through human trafficking and were being held hostage.”

"On the third day, we managed to escape and approached the Indian Embassy. After returning, we asked Kataria to return our money, but he refused," the complainant said.

Following the complaint, an FIR was registered against Kataria and others under Sections 323 (causing hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (criminal intimidation), 420 (cheating), 364 (abduction), 370 (buying and disposing of any person as a slave), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 10/24 of the Immigration Act.

Kataria was arrested from his Gurugram office.

In 2022, Kataria was arrested by the Delhi Police for smoking inside an airplane while a Dehradun court issued a non-bailable warrant against him the same year after he had shared a video in which he was seen drinking in public and blocking a road.

An FIR was registered against Kataria by the Gurugram police for thrashing a woman, posting vulgar messages about her on social media and giving her death threats in 2022.

He was also arrested in Gurugram for misbehaving with police personnel.