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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two nabbed for duping visa seekers

AHMEDABAD: A 42-year-old woman and her manager running a visa consultancy agency near Swastik crossroads were arrested for duping 13 people of Rs 16.50 lakh.

Navrangpura police arrested the duo from SG Highway on Monday.

According to police, Mehul Soni, a resident of Khamasa, filed a complaint in April 2010 against Asha Shah, a visa consultant running operations from her residence in Anhill Complex near Swastik crossroads. As per the complaint, Shah had advertized her consultancy Alpha Infocomm in newspapers that claimed to provide assistance to procure a work permit and visa for the UK.

"In July 2009, Soni and his group of 10 youths approached Shah and her manager Frances Joseph, 44, for jobs in London. Shah promised them quick processing and charged for the services. Over the next four months, she took their passports and signed documents for visa processing. During this time, the youths paid Rs 16.50 lakh to Shah and Joseph," said P M Sarvaiya, inspector of Navrangpura police station.

By the beginning of 2010, the youths became desperate and tried to contact the duo. Shah did not meet the group but Joseph assured them of the visa and said their documents had been sent to Mumbai for processing. As a final resort, the group filed a complaint for cheating against Shah and Joseph.

"We arrested Joseph soon after the complaint in 2010 whereas Shah was declared absconding. Joseph got bail and denied knowledge of Shah's whereabouts. On Sunday, we got a tip-off about a meeting between Shah and Joseph. We sent teams to different locations and spotted the duo at a popular eatery near Gota on SG Highway. The duo was arrested from the spot. During questioning, Shah confessed that she had not provided the promised services to the visa aspirants. However, she blamed it on her Mumbai connections who were helping her find jobs. We are corroborating her claim," said Sarvaiya.

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