Friday, April 8, 2016

Mumbai-based visa fraud racket busted, four held

Kochi: Palluruthy police have arrested a four-member gang that had duped several job aspirants by promising to arrange visas to Singapore.

The gang operated from Mumbai and found gullible victims by placing advertisements on online classifieds like Quikr. The arrested had duped nearly Rs 50 lakh from job aspirants who had filed complaints with the Palluruthy police.

The accused are Shiju Sheelan, Jayasheelan, Krishna Kumar, Jithu Xavier and Haneefa. While Jithu is a native of Eramalloor in Alappuzha, the remaining three are from Thiruvananthapuram.

All the accused except Jayasheelan were arrested from an apartment at Vashi, Navi Mumbai, in Maharashtra by a team of police headed by Palluruthy circle inspector Aneesh K G.

Police were on search for the accused after Bibin, a Kumbalanghi native, lodged a complaint with the Kochi city police commissioner last week. "Seeing the online advertisements, jobs aspirants will send them applications. The accused will respond to the applicants. Jobs were offered with a shipping firm in Singapore," said Aneesh.

Selected applicants were later sent fake visa and flight tickets. They were requested to transfer amounts ranging from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for further formalities.

According to the inspector, the accused had collected money through bank accounts that were opened using fake documents. Different SIM cards used by the accused were also obtained using forged ID cards. Police traced their location to Mumbai by tracing the mobile tower locations and arrested them with the support of Maharashtra police. According to police, the accused had cases registered against them at Ernakulam central, Karamana, Punalur, Aroor, Kozhikode and Palakkad.

In the case registered with Palakkad police, the accused had duped money from 11 Tamil Nadu natives too. Following the arrest, the city police were approached by nearly ten people from Mumbai who have reportedly lost about Rs 35 lakh.

They accused have been booked for cheating and under provisions of IT Act. They were remanded in judicial custody on Monday. Police would seek the custody of the accused to interrogate them on several new complaints.

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