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Cops book agent who sent Indians to US

An FIR has been registered against the recruiter who sent Indian workers to the US, where they were forced to work and "live like pigs" at a camp, reports N Sharma.

india Updated: May 25, 2008 14:42 IST
Nagendar Sharma

More than two months after the Hindustan Times broke the story of Indian workers who were forced to work and "live like pigs" at a shipyard camp on the American Gulf coast, an FIR has been registered against the Mumbai recruiter who sent them abroad on the false promise of US green cards.

Mumbai police charged M/s Dewan Consultants under provisions of the IPC and Emigration Act after the Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs lodged a complaint, an official said.

<b1>"Criminal proceedings were initiated after the ministry received a report from the Indian embassy in Washington, and also on the basis of an internal inquiry. The agent has been found liable for cheating, overcharging and inducing innocent people for false promises," the official said.

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vyalar Ravi confirmed the action, but didn’t give details: "We want justice for the workers, and we’ll speak later. We don’t want publicity."

Following a series of HT reports, the ministry had earlier decided to amend the 25-year-old Emigration Act to include stiffer punishment for rogue recruiters. The bill is likely to be tabled in parliament’s monsoon session.

The Indians, hired to work in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by marine fabrication company Signal International, have been on a hunger strike in Washington DC for the past 11 days, demanding action against the firm and its agents in Mumbai.

Signal has denied it lured the workers on false promises, or mistreated them in the US. The agents have complained the government was acting "on the basis of wrong statements by some workers".

A press release issued on behalf of the hunger strikers on Saturday said they had written to Ambassador Ronen Sen, demanding he immediately visit them, and asking why the embassy had first responded only after one of their comrades, Christopher Glory, had had to be hospitalised.

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