Till last Tuesday, 24-year-old Kaushalkumar Khushwaha was excited, and grateful to the men who had taken Rs 60,000 from him and promised him a welder’s job in Singapore.
They even gave him an Air India ticket for November 3. That’s the day he discovered there was no such job, and that the men had disappeared with his money and his passport.
Navi Mumbai resident Khushwaha is among at least 62 applicants who were cheated. Premkumar alias Mohammed Sharif (45), Sajid Ahmed (45) and Jaafar (35) posed as employment agents and promised them jobs as welders, bulldozer operators, electricians, computer operators, AC mechanics, in Singapore and Dubai. “After collecting around Rs 1 crore, they disappeared with the aspirants’ passports and other documents,” said Assistant Police Inspector S.K. Chavan.
“On November 2, Sajid phoned Khushwaha, who works as a trainer with the Asian Technical Training Institute, and told him the ticket had been pushed back because some immigration formalities were pending,” said Chavan.
No arrests have been made so far. “The number of victims could be over 100,” said Inspector Dilip Raut. Khushwaha said he heard about the agency from an acquaintance who referred him to Sajid: “I met the three at their office at Swastik Chambers in Chembur.”
He said Sajid took his documents. Sajid promised Khushwaha a welder’s job that would pay him $1,400 a month, plus food, accommodation and 15 paid holidays a year. Khushwaha paid Rs 45,000, for which he has receipts, and Rs 15,000, without a receipt.
On November 3, Khushwaha called all three men and found their cellphones switched off, and their office locked, with a mob of similarly cheated men waiting outside. Police said the suspects charged Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 for a job in Singapore, and Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 for Dubai, a racket they had been running for the last two months.