Duped in Russia,8 Indians bring back tales of trauma

Eight Indians duped in a major job racket in Russia have finally returned home,thanks to help from Indian medical students based there.

Written by Shashank Shekhar | Mumbai | Published:July 11, 2009 4:22 am

Eight Indians duped in a major job racket in Russia have finally returned home,thanks to help from Indian medical students based there.

“In April,an agent called Shankar,an acquaintance,contacted me and told me that I could get a job in Russia if I paid him Rs 2.7 lakh,” said 33-year-old Padala Gangadhar Chandrayya of Mumbai,who along with seven others came back on Thursday.

Set to get back to helping his brother in his tailoring shop,Chandrayya,who claims he was “captive” in Russia for about 25 days,said he had sold his wife’s ornaments and also borrowed money to pay Shankar. But what followed was a journey full of mental agony,starting from Mumbai to Cochin to Mumbai to Moscow via Abu Dhabi. From Moscow airport,he was put on another flight to St Petersburg by an aide of the alleged racket’s prime conspirator,Manoj. “At St Petersburg,I was asked to give away my passport and $600. Manoj then promised me that he’ll give me work-related papers in 10 days,” Chandrayya said. He said many of the 64 Indians,who were similarly duped were put in a Hotel Royal in Alexander Newasky,St Petersburg. “Three Kazakhstani goons would guard us and abuse us after getting drunk at night,” he added. Sandhil Kumar,27,from Kerala,who spent about four months in St Petersburg,said he was beaten up when he asked for his passport.

However,about a month ago,the 64 Indians were thrown out in the middle of night. It was then that they met two Indian medical students who helped them. “Akshay Desai,Sudarshan and their Russian friend called Ferdinand made us stay at a German church and provided for our food sometimes,” he said.

Though they claimed help was not forthcoming from the Indian consulate in St Petersburg,recently they got a call informing them that their passports had been sent to the consulate.

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