Second major emigration fraud in five months has come to light here. Travel agency ‘Aakriti Overseas’, operating from Virk Complex near the bus stand, is named in 85 complaints about cheating Punjab and Himachal Pradesh youths on the pretext of sending them to Kuwait.
Earlier 200-odd complaints were registered against Royal Education Consultants of local Karan Chambers. The owner and two employees of Aakriti Overseas, who are booked in the latest case, have gone into hiding. On Wednesday, police recovered 119 passports from the agency’s office.
One of the complainants, Barjinder Pal Singh, son of a retired sub-inspector from Kapurthala, claimed to have paid the agency Rs 70,000 but received fake Kuwait visa on May 10. “I fell for the newspaper advertisements in which the agency had claimed that Kuwait required drivers, carpenters, and security guards. The employees and owners now have switched off their mobile phones,” he said.
Carpenter Harnek Singh of Rahon road in Ludhiana claimed to have paid a similar amount to the firm. “My father sold off some of his land to get me the money. the agency’s office is now shut for the past three days. Complaints of cheating are coming in from Mansa, Kapurthala, Pathankot, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Moga, and Rupnagar in Punjab, besides Una in Himachal Pradesh. Police now have our passports recovered from the agency’s office,” he said.
Station house officer concerned Navdeep Singh said the raided squad had found the given address of firm owner Sarbjot Singh to be fake. A case under Sections 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 24 of Emigration Act (offences and penalties) was registered against three people, including the owner.
Accused in the Royal Education Consultants fraud, its owner Gagandeep Singh is also at large and court has declared him a proclaimed offender. Police had recovered 400 passports from his bank locker.