The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has carried out search operations on January 19 and 20, 2024, at 22 locations in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Surat and Mehsana, linked to the key conspirators Bobby alias Bharatbhai Patel, Charanjit Singh and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, in the case of illegal foreign immigration, said the agency in a press release issued on Sunday.
ED initiated an investigation on the basis of two FIRs registered by Gujarat Police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Passports Act for their involvement in sending Indian citizens abroad illegally since 2015.
The ED investigation revealed that the accused persons were taking huge consideration for sending Indian citizens abroad illegally on the basis of bogus or fabricated documents for getting visas to different countries with duplicate or bogus passports used as genuine by impersonating the passengers wrongly, said the agency.
For this purpose, they used to collect Rs 60 to 75 lakh from one passenger, Rs 1 to 1.25 crore from a couple (husband and wife) and Rs 1.25 to 1.75 crore if children were also accompanied, from the passengers desirous of going abroad, said ED.
According to the ED, during the search operations, cash amounting to Rs. 1.5 crore, approximately in INR and foreign currencies equivalent to Rs. 21 lakh were seized. Further, various other incriminating evidence in the form of digital as well as documentary evidence has been recovered and seized.
Bobby Patel was also involved in the 2022 Dingucha case, where a family of four was frozen to death while attempting to illegally enter the United States from Canada. Further investigation is in progress, said ED.