Prosecutors decline to file charges in Valencia restaurant slavery case

Prosecutors decline to file charges against man accused of enslaving worker at Indian restaurant in Valencia

A man who was arrested for allegedly enslaving an Indian national to work at a Valencia restaurant for three years was released from custody Friday after prosecutors declined to file charges.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file charges against Pardeep Kumar, 47, due to a lack of sufficient evidence, spokesman Greg Risling said.

Calls to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials for comment were not immediately returned Friday.

Kumar was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of human trafficking and holding a person in involuntary servitude, sheriff’s Capt. Merrill Ladenheim said.

Authorities said Kumar was the Indian national’s boss and had scared the man so much that he never tried to escape because he feared for his life.

The 55-year-old Indian national came to the United States three years ago to work at Tandoori Grill as a chef, the captain said. But Kumar, he said, confiscated his passport and forced him to live in his Newhall home.

The chef worked seven days a week, about 12 to 14 hours each day and was beaten with a 2-foot-long piece of steel and a 3-foot-long metal mop handle, Ladenheim said.

He was driven to and from work and was allegedly forbidden from interacting with the outside world. The chef’s alleged ordeal was finally revealed in an email from Mumbai.

Another restaurant employee notified the chef’s brother of the alleged abuse. The brother sent an email to the Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday, telling them about the situation.

Deputies went to the restaurant, and the chef told them about the alleged abuse. Kumar was arrested.

The chef plans to return to India, authorities said.

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