Government to act tough with rogue immigration agents


New Delhi/Hyderabad : The government Thursday said it would come down hard on illegal immigration agents as the alleged kingpin of the human trafficking racket involving many Indian parliamentarians surrendered in Hyderabad.

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“Some people are obsessed with going abroad. This has to be discontinued. Such illegal immigration brings nothing but misery,” Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said, adding that his ministry will spare no illegal immigration agent.

Ravi said he would be holding consultations with the home ministry to check illegal migration.

In Hyderabad, Mohammed Rasheed Ali, a travel agent and resident of Malakpet area, surrendered at the Central Crime Station (CCS) of Andhra Pradesh Police after several days of evading arrest.

He told reporters at CCS that he was innocent and had decided to surrender as he was receiving threatening calls from political leaders.

“I will tell everything in the court and I hope that police will protect me.”

His surrender is seen as a major breakthrough in the case, allegedly involving several leaders of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

Rasheed’s name came up during investigations in the human trafficking scandal, which came to light on April 18 after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babubhai Katara was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi while trying to smuggle out a woman and a boy to Toronto on the passports of his wife and son.

Two people arrested in Delhi in connection with the case had revealed that Rasheed played a key role in the racket.

TRS rebel legislator Kasipeta Lingaiah, who is also in police custody for obtaining a passport for a woman masquerading as his wife, had claimed that he had applied for the passport through Rasheed.

After evading arrest for a few days, Lingaiah had surrendered before a court in Hyderabad April 27.

Another TRS rebel legislator S. Bapurao, who went into hiding four days ago after his name cropped up during investigations, came overground Thursday in his native Adilabad district and admitted to meeting Rasheed through a middleman.

Bapurao, who is also accused of obtaining passports for a Gujarati woman and two children in the names of his wife and two children, claimed that he had applied for passports for his ‘wife’ and ‘children’ through Rasheed.

Claiming to be innocent, Bapurao alleged that TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao had hatched a conspiracy to implicate him for turning against his leadership.

Names of other TRS leaders have also come up during investigations. TRS suspended its MP A. Narendra from the party last week after allegations that he misused passports of two party MPs to illegally send some people abroad.

Meanwhile, as part of the streamlining of the migration process, the government has begun computerising the eight offices of Protector of Emigrants (PoE).

“This is the beginning of MOIA’s (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs) efforts to help people seeking to emigrate,” Ravi said inaugurating the first computerised PoE office in Delhi Thursday.

Stating that the earlier manually operated system made the emigration process cumbersome, he said, “This will make the emigration process much easier and transparent.”

Apart from Delhi, emigration clearance is given by seven other PoE offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandigarh and Chennai.

The automation of the rest of the offices, being undertaken by the MOIA at a cost of Rs.21.5 million, will be completed shortly and these will then be linked up with the ministry, Indian missions abroad and immigration desks at airports, according to an official press note.

Also, a new website – – inaugurated by the minister will make all information regarding emigration from India available to the general people.

Stating that India has become a major source of manpower for many countries, Ravi said that last year alone 675,000 workers – skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled – went to destinations abroad through the PoE offices.