A fraudulent network sending people abroad was busted on Tuesday by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch (ACB) and three people were arrested in the matter. At least 28 people, trying to migrate to Canada for better prospects, were duped by this network. The arrested include two employees – Sohil Diwan and Melvyn Christi – of VFS Global Private Limited – a leading Visa service provider with operations in over 145 countries, and one former employee of the company, Mehul Bharwad.
Deputy General Manager of the company, Vyomesh Thakar, had lodged a police complaint of fraud against four employees of his company. According to Thakar, on July 5, the VFS office in Ahmedabad received an email from the Canadian High Commission stating that the biometrics of 28 people had been submitted from the visa application centre in the city. But since no appointment letters were issued by Canada against those names, the high commission asked them to recheck it. Thakar had the database checkedat the VFS Centre for the required biometrics of 28 people, but no such names were obtained.
ACB investigation revealed that the fraudsters had made bogus biometric letter pads. Thakar suspected some VFS employees might have obtained the biometrics of customers without the knowledge of the company and submitted them on the Canada High Commission website. On checking the CCTV footage, it was found that some people were entering the premises without an appointment and submitting biometrics.
Mehul, along with a travel agent, had planned out this fraud with two existing employees of the company by obtaining the biometrics of the candidates whose appointment letters had not been issued yet. All four of them have been named in the FIR registered by Thakar.
According to an investigating officer, the accused charged Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 each from the victims. However, the purpose of bypassing the normal procedure is yet to be ascertained, he added on anonymity.