Mumbai: Job fraud victims run from pillar to post for their passports

Around 200 job seekers who lost thousands of rupees to a job fraud are now running from pillar to post just to get their passports back. The victims mostly from North East states West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh are forced to come to Mumbai where they were made to wait sometimes for a month. While some are unable to come as they don't have enough money to come here and wait and neither to pay for advocates charges.

Meghnath Duhudi, 26, who lost Rs 35,000 while looking for an electrician job in Russia waited for a month in Mumbai just for his passport. "I came here on January 23, however, I could get back the passports only on February 23, for a month I stayed at my friend's place," he said. There are many others who are not so lucky to have anyone here to stay and were forced to returned empty handed.

A teacher from Odisha Kalu Charan Nayak, 43, returned empty handed cause he couldn't stay here and pay the remaining Rs 4000. "In last week of January I came here for my passport and paid Rs 1000 to the advocate, however, the process was taking long. I didn't had money left to stay here neither I had the remaining Rs 4000 which the advocate was demanding so I left. Now I can't even afford to visit Mumbai again," he said.

In the second week of January the crime branch unit 8 busted a fake placement agency for allegedly duping hundreds of job seekers on the pretext of giving jobs in Russia. The accused were running a 'placement agency' from a shopping mall in Malad and were offering lucrative jobs in Russia. From each individual they took Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh and for assurance provided forged appointment letters and other relevant documents.

Many aspirants across the country paid them thousands of Rupees and sent their passports and other documents thought courier. From March to January they were operating from the mall meanwhile crime branch unit 8 received an information and the gang was busted. Total 251 passports were seized from them and after checking the bank accounts it was revealed that the total fraud was to the tune of Rs 50 lakh.

After the gang was busted crime branch officer started contacting victims one by one. "It's true that these people aren't wealthy enough to visit Mumbai as and when required and stay here for long but we need to understand leagal procedure here.The passports are seized and handed over to the court as evidence due to which they can't be handed over to or released without the procedure. These people are alos victims and their concent is required to present themselves along with the evidence when required," said a police officer on request of anonymity.

The crime branch have seized total 251 passports however only 56 were able to get back their passports due to hurdles.

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