ED conducts searches in Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra to probe illegal immigration rackets


The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday said it has conducted fresh searches in Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra against agents, consultants and linked persons who run illegal immigration rackets to send Indians abroad, especially to the United States of America and Canada.

The action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was launched on March 1. Twenty-nine locations across the three States were covered, the probe agency said in a statement.

It had also raided similar entities as part of this probe in January and February this year.

The ED case stems from three FIRs filed by the Gujarat Police against some of the main accused, including Bharatbhai alias Bobby Patel, Rajubhai Becharbhai Prajapati, Bhavesh Ashokbhai Patel, and others.

The police have charge-sheeted the accused, alleging that they have been sending Indian citizens abroad illegally since 2015 based on “bogus or fabricated” documents for getting visas of different countries.

For this, the accused would collect ₹60 lakh to ₹75 lakh from one passenger, ₹1 crore to ₹ 1.25 crore from a couple and ₹ 1.25 crore to₹1.75 crore if children accompanied the couple, the ED said in a statement.

Modus operandi

The modus operandi indicated that people were lured by the accused to settle them abroad through the issuance of fake or bogus visas and passports, including student visas, for which the accused charged a huge amount of money, the agency said.

The individuals, whose student visas were issued, never joined the said institute. Some such institutions are also suspected to be involved, the ED said.

Bank accounts holding ₹50.10 lakh worth of deposits were also frozen under the PMLA, the probe agency added.

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