Arrest of 'hijackers' leads to busting of visa racket
From accommodation in the Capital to a visa, for a sum of Rs 1.8 lakh, they offered it all. Those running the immigration racket have their tentacles all over the country, from small towns choc-a-bloc with people with dollar dreams to the national capital.Updated: Jul 08, 2010 00:00 IST
From accommodation in the Capital to a visa, for a sum of Rs 1.8 lakh, they offered it all. Those running the immigration racket have their tentacles all over the country, from small towns choc-a-bloc with people with dollar dreams to the national capital.
On Tuesday afternoon, the incident, which started as a hunt for "hijackers", resulted in the police unearthing a major fake visa and
What they earn
The Rs 1.80 lakh they charge from each of their customers is given to a slew of people, like the ones given below:
State agents: Rs 5, 000 to Rs 7, 000 per person
Common contact in Delhi: Rs. 15,000 to 20,000 per person
Forger: Rs. 25, 000-Rs. 35, 000 per visa (His job is the most important. The fake visas have to look authentic and only an experienced forger can do it.)
Guest House owners: Rs. 500 to 1000 daily. Many agents rent guesthouses on a monthly basis
Driver to the airport: Rs. 500
In the course of investigation, police found out about a meticulously-planned racket, in which people are assigned specific tasks and work out the minutest details of the racket.
A travel agency owner and his employee were arrested here today for allegedly arranging tickets in bulk.
According to police, these state agents or punters who mostly operate from small towns look for people desperate to go abroad. "They promise to provide them visas, tickets and an assured job in the country of their choice," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (IGI) O.P. Mishra. Police said they quote a price to their possible customer and then provide them with a phone number of the person concerned in Delhi.
The Delhi agent then offers them a package. The package may cost anything between Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 1.8 lakh, depending on the place they are going to be sent. The package included everything from the visa, accommodation in Delhi for those from other states, flight tickets and even transportation to the airport. The contact in Delhi arranged accommodation for these people in various parts of the city. Some people even reached the city a fortnight ago. All of them are electricians, supervisors, masons who were on their way to Iraq via Dubai using the fake visas.
The Delhi agent asked the 27 people to approach a contact in the Capital, who arranged the tickets in bulk through Pan Travels, which has its office in Connaught Place. "We have arrested the travel agency owner Rakesh Chopra and his employee Sunil Bisht," added Mishra.
The Delhi Police have arrested and registered cases against 15 people from Nadia in West Bengal, six from Punjab, four from Haryana and one each from Delhi and Bangladesh. "The Bangladeshi national has a forged Indian passport as well," said Mishra.
The anonymous call: Was it from a rival fake visa gang?
The anonymous calls came from Dubai. Investigators suspect that a rival visa racket blew the lid on the racket by making calls to two airline call centres, that these people were to board two flights to Dubai with fake visas, because they were losing business. The caller also gave the PNR numbers of the 27 passengers. With such precise information, the CISF had no problems in rounding them up.
How it happened
On Tuesday evening, CISF detained 27 people at the airport, while they were trying to fly to Dubai with fake visas. The racket was unearthed following calls received by Kingfisher Airlines first around 12 pm and then 30 minutes later. Jet Airways received the call two hours later.
A well-tutored group:
According to police, those who operate the visa racket are very meticulous with their work. Police said that they tutored people whom they were taking abroad on what to say if
caught by authorities. "The people from Punjab kept on saying that they were going on a trip. They have been trained by the agents to say precisely that. It was only later that they said they were going to find jobs in Iraq," added Mishra.