The Mumbai Police crime branch on Monday arrested four people for allegedly running an illegal immigration racket. The police are now hunting for dummy parents. An FIR in the case was registered by the US Consulate in August.
The police said the accused include two Ahmedabad travel agents,Aslam Rafiq Panchal (48) and Ketan Patel (38),Bharat Patel (26) and a dummy father Jignesh Jaggar (39).
The interrogation of the four men has revealed that the racket was being carried out for the past four years with several people having sneaked in their children and wives to the US using dummy relatives, crime branch officials said.
Officials added that the case came to light after the US Consulate tracked a strange travel pattern involving a few US tourists. A scrutiny by the investigating officer at the Consulate found that in several cases,while the men of the families returned within a short period,their wives and children stayed back. An investigation by the Mumbai crime branch found that agents were approached by men who had moved to the USA,but could not succeed in getting visas for their wives and children.
The police said in most cases,the women and children would assume the second name of the dummy father and forge their passports. Interrogation has revealed that agents took around Rs 15-18 lakh for the transport of one person. The role of the dummy father was restricted to providing his second name to the forged passports of the women and children and drop them in the US before returning to India within two days, a police official said.
Agents have confessed to the police of sending more than 15 children and women to the US using this route.
Among the accused,Patel was in charge of looking for families,of which the male member was settled in the US,while the other members were in India,or where both the parents were in the US on a work visa,while their children were in India. Patel then introduced the families to the two travel agents,Panchal and Patel,who searched for dummy fathers, said an official of crime branch unit-9.
Officials added that Panchal and Patel did the paperwork and got the childrens last name changed and applied for fresh visas on the forged passport. Once children were dropped,the document trail was complete and money exchanged, the official added.
The four have been arrested for cheating and forgery,and under the Passport Act. We are in the process of arresting more dummy parents, an official said.