Bengaluru: In a suspected case of human trafficking, 32 women nursing graduates were rescued at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

The students were being taken to Armenia and Germany, under the pretext of attending a course in University of Traditional Medicine of Armenia (UTMA).

Tony Tom, the main accused behind the alleged trafficking racket, was arrested. A case was filed for attempted human trafficking. It was based on the complaint by KIA immigration officials.

The women are from Kerala and they had studied in Mangaluru, Karnataka.

According to the police, Tom runs an education consultancy called Hopesyn Education International in Kankanady, Mangaluru. The women got in touch with Tom through a newspaper advertisement that promised jobs to nursing students in reputed hospitals in Germany if they learnt German. In his ad, Tom promised the girls admission to UTMA to learn the language.

The nurses along with Tom reached the airport on Monday night. The immigration officials at the airport doubted the existence of such a course as UTMA is a medical science university and the women were taken for a course in German. They immediately contacted the Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) police for interrogation.

Kala Krishnaswamy, deputy commissioner of police (northeast division) said that, based on the reports given by immigration and BIAL officers, a case was filed. She added that each woman was asked to pay $1,200 to Tom for the course and Rs 30,000 for travel visa.

Commenting on the arrest, she said she wasn't sure what Tom would have done with the girls in Armenia. The cops have booked him for attempted human trafficking and arrested him.

The police are checking Tom’s background. So far, it has been established that he is from Kerala and runs an education consultancy in Mangaluru.