New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Sunday said it undertook searches in Gujarat and Delhi against some "key" conspirators who used to run an illegal racket of sending Indian citizens abroad using "bogus" visas and passports.
The searches were carried out on January 19-20 at 22 locations in Ahmedabad, Surat and Mehsana in Gujarat and in Delhi. These were linked to "key conspirators" Bobby alias Bharatbhai Patel, Charanajit Singh and others in a case of aiding illegal foreign immigration, the agency said in a statement.
Patel was arrested in this case by the Gujarat Police in 2022 and was also involved in the Dingucha case that took place the same year, where an Indian family of four had frozen to death while attempting to illegally enter the US from Canada. The ED case filed under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) stems from two Gujarat Police FIRs registered against the accused under the IPC and the Passports Act for their alleged involvement in sending Indian citizens abroad illegally since 2015.
The accused "were taking huge consideration for sending Indian citizens abroad illegally on the basis of bogus or fabricated documents for getting visa of different countries with duplicate or bogus passports used as genuine by impersonating the passengers wrongly". They used to collect Rs 60-75 lakh from one passenger, Rs 1-1.25 crore from every couple (husband and wife) and Rs 1.25-1.75 crore if children accompanied their parents, it said.
About Rs 1.5 crore cash in Indian currency and around Rs 21 lakh in foreign currency were seized during the two-day raids, the ED said. Various other "incriminating" evidence in the form of digital as well as documentary have been seized, as per the ED.