Bombay HC refuses bail to Finnish woman arrested for helping Sri Lankan national illegally migrate to Europe
Posted on September 8th, 2020

Courtesy The Hindustan Times

The Bombay high court last week refused bail to a 60-year-old Finnish national arrested for helping a Sri Lankan national to illegally migrate to Europe.

Justice Sarang Kotwal rejected the bail plea of Miira Mirva Helena Pasma observing that there were strong circumstances against her.

Pasma was arrested after Sri Lankan national Kuhapriya Thevarasa was found carrying a forged French passport issued in the name of Pasma on June 28, 2019, at Mumbai airport. Thevarasa was stopped from boarding a flight to Frankfurt after the airline staff suspected immigration stamps on her passport and handed over to the Sahar police.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Thevarasa had entered the airport with a ticket for Ahmedabad, whereas Pasma had a French passport and a ticket and boarding pass for the Frankfurt flight. Pasma allegedly passed on the forged passport with purportedly fake immigration stamps to Thevarasa after she cleared immigration check. Thevarasa attempted to board the Frankfurt flight based on the forged documents, whereas Pasma took a domestic flight to Ahmedabad, where she was apprehended on June 30, 2019.

Pasma’s interrogation revealed that she had come in contact with an agent who along with others was illegally sending Sri Lankan nationals to European countries from Mumbai, and Thevarasa’s parents had paid the gang Rs. 14 lakh. Pasma, who claimed to be a teacher was promised to be paid 1,500 Euros for helping Thevarasa migrate to Europe.

Both of them were then booked by Sahar police for offences punishable under sections 370 (dealing any person as a slave), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) read with section 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.

Pasma had moved HC for bail contending that the offences of human trafficking and cheating were not attracted in the case, as no one was being trafficked for exploitation and there was no dishonest inducement for cheating anybody.

Justice Kotwal agreed that there was no material to support the charge of human trafficking, but there was material supporting other charges levelled against the 60-year-old.

The offence is serious. The immigration officers of this country were deceived. Indian territory was used by these two accused for their gain,” said the judge.

HC refused to take a sympathetic view of the fact that she was behind bars for about 14 months and the trial has not started yet. Unfortunately, the trial could not start immediately, but, the Court cannot be oblivious to the current situation which has arisen because of COVID-19 pandemic. All the under-trial prisoners are similarly awaiting trial.”

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