Visa racket busted, 4 held

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NEW DELHI: The anti-extortion cell of the crime branch of Delhi Police has busted a gang of cheats who duped people from Punjab of their money by promising to get Canadian visas for them.

A team of police officers led by ACP Ravi Shankar and inspector P C Khandoori nabbed four people involved in the visa racket.

They allegedly made about Rs 40 lakh a year by cheating people. Several passports, fake visa stickers, forged documents, mobile phones and cars used by the accused have been seized, said police.

The arrests were made on February 4 after one Mandeep Singh, a resident of Jalandhar, lodged a complaint that he had paid money to one R K Sethi, whose real name the former came to know later as Harvinder Singh, for procuring a Canadian work visa. “Mandeep stated that he paid Rs 60,000 and had given his passport to Harvinder for affixing the visa sticker. The remaining Rs 7,40,000 was to be paid after the visa had been affixed. However, Harvinder was delaying the delivery of Mandeep’s passport. When the victim insisted, he was told to bring Rs 7,40,000 for taking back his passport. Harvinder even threatened to destroy the passport if he failed to pay up,” said DCP (crime) Ashok Chand.

Acting on tip-off, police laid a trap on February 4 and arrested one Harvinder (40), along-with his associates Pawan Kumar (40) and Harish Kumar (41) from Connaught Place. Harvinder is a commerce graduate from Delhi University and he is the gang leader. One passport having a fake Canadian visa sticker and forged documents and a Santro car with a fake registration number were seized from them. Their associate, Anil Arora (57), was also apprehended later. Another passport having a fake Canadian visa sticker and the Santro car in which Arora was travelling were seized. Two more passports with fake Canadian visa sticker and four fake Canadian visa stickers were later seized. “We accused used the ill-gotten money in the stock market. We will take action to freeze their D-Mat accounts,” said ACP Ravishankar.

According to crime branch sources, the cheats had adopted a unique method to entice their victims. “Harvinder used to first send SMSes at random to mobile users in Punjab informing them that the work relating to procurement of their Canadian visa had been completed. Certain local agents in Punjab helped him by sending him cellphone numbers of those in the queue. When some of the targets would revert back to enquire about the procedure for obtaining a visa, Harvinder would entrap them with his communication skills,” said Chand.

Harvinder would ask the victims to come to Delhi and would meet them in various restaurants in Connaught Place and then would introduce them to his associate, Harish Kumar, as an official of the Canadian Embassy. After striking a deal they would promise to provide a Canadian visa to the victim for Rs 7 lakh to 8 lakh. Harvinder would then take some money in advance along with the passport of the victim. He later would paste a fake visa sticker on the passport and show it to the victim before taking the entire money.

“Harvinder used some pretext to retain the passport and never returned it to the victim. Anil Arora provided Harvinder with the fake visa stickers. Till date about 12 to 15 persons have been cheated,” said Chand.
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