Job racket: Hyderabad police cracks whip on travel agents

By Mohd. Ismail Khan,,

Hyderabad: The city police have cracked the whip on bully travel agents who were collecting huge commissions from unemployed youths by giving false assurance of providing decent jobs in gulf countries. As many as 14 travel agents have been arrested from different parts of the old city in last few days.

Support TwoCircles

While Dabeerpura police has arrested Shahnawaz (40), Mohd. Ijaz (42), Ali Raza Hassan (60), and Naushad Raza (28), their counterparts in Hussainialam and Reinbazar areas have caught Hamed Zubedi (34), and Zahed Zubedi (30), and Faqruddin (42) respectively. Charminar and Dabeerpura Police also nabbed Sameena Begum (22) while Hussainialam Police nabbed Mohd. Abdul Hameed, who was running ‘Space Travels’ agency. Chatrinaka Police has nabbed Mohd Muneer Chand (47). Police acted and arrested them after receiving complaints from many young job aspirants who were tricked by these agents. The above arrests were made under the supervision of Manish Kumar Sinha (I.P.S), Dy. Commissioner of Police, South Zone (old city area), Hyderabad. As many as 78 passports have been confiscated from the arrested agents, and all of them are being booked under sec 420, 506, of I.P.C and sec 12 of Indian passports act.

According to the police, these travel agents would identify unemployed and uneducated persons planning to go abroad – most of them to Gulf countries – for any kind of odd jobs. Then the agents would start showing them bogus dreams of how they will earn in thousands which they can’t earn with same resources in India. The travel agents then collected money from those youths ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 as a commission, from each making them believe that they could earn that sum within a few months by working in gulf countries.
The agents keep the original documents like passports and ration cards of those youths. After receiving the commission amount or a part of it, agents deceive them or start avoiding them. They neither help them to find a job nor return the money taken from them. If those gullible youths demand money back, the agents threaten them with dire consequences, and in some cases they threaten them to keep their passports and other original documents and not return them.

Many oblivious job aspirant youths have recently lost lakhs of rupees to such agents who promised them lucrative jobs in the US, Malaysia and mainly in the Gulf countries. One such case is of Mohd Fareed from Zindatilismat Nagar area of old city. He studied till matriculation. He was unemployed for last 5 years but in that period he pursued some computer courses. Keeping in mind his limited qualification he approached a travel agent to arrange him a job in any gulf country. The travel agent offered him a lucrative job as a salesman in a shopping mall in Dubai with a salary of Rs 20,000 per month. Fareed didn’t want to miss this opportunity. He believed the travel agent and arranged amount of Rs 75,000 to pay to that agent. He even handed over his passport to get the company visa. But nearly one year has passed and Fareed is still in his house waiting for the job.

Fareed told TCN: “I have visited the travel agent many times but he is ignoring me. He is not even picking my phone calls. Whenever I asked him about that job in Dubai he comes with one or the other excuse. Last week when I met him he told me that there is a diplomatic tussle going on between India and Dubai after Manmohan Singh’s visit last year to that country, and I have to wait till some solution comes up between the two countries”.

Sheikh Ayub, resident of old Malakpet area studied till 12th standard, after which he joined his father’s brick dealing business. But when the business started running in loss, he decided to leave the business and try his luck abroad. He approached a travel agent to get a job in U.S.A. The travel agent offered him a job in a perfume company as a salesman with a salary of $1000. He immediately accepted it, the agent demanded a commission amount of Rs 1,50,000. He borrowed money from his relatives and paid half of the commission amount to the agent. But four months have passed and there is no news from his agent about the job.

Ayub told TCN: “He said I have to clear the interview first to get the job, I agreed because I was confident that I can pass it, I repeatedly keep on asking him the date of the interview, but 4 months after taking away the money, now the travel agent is backtracking from his promised job. He is saying that salesman job is not available now; if I want to work in U.S.A then I have to choose a job in a petrol pump or as a cleaner in a shopping mall, with a salary which I could earn easily in India itself.” He said the travel agent is ready to provide him the odd jobs but not returning his money back.

There are even some cases in which travel agents dumped uneducated job aspirants in the gulf countries to work in some odd jobs, in contrast to the promised job. Mohd Abdul Wahed was an auto driver from the Amberpet area of Hyderabad. He was also having experience in driving heavy vehicles and cars. In the desire of earning more abroad, he approached a travel agent to get a job of driver on some good payment. That agent promised him the job of a personal driver to a rich sheikh in Saudi Arab with a lucrative salary of 3,500 riyal per month with free accommodation facility. The agent demanded a commission of Rs 1, 50,000 to arrange the visa and the job. Wahid paid him the amount from his savings and selling a piece of his land. The agent arranged him the visa for one year and a plane ticket, when he reached Saudi for his utter surprise he came to know that the job which he got is not of a driver of a luxury car, but of a camel herder.

Two years after that incident Wahed recalled the whole horror and told TCN: “I was forced to do that job in the desert as my passport was taken by my employer. After three months I was unable to bear the burden of the job in the desert and I fell sick. As I became burden for my employer he scolded me, beat me up and sent me back to India. When I reached back I wanted to settle my score with that agent. When I reached his office it was closed as he had run away deceiving many people like me.”

Lack of employment opportunities to the skilled but not highly educated youths in the city and the state is forcing them to find an alternative abroad to earn some good money.. These fake travel agents are amassing huge wealth by deceiving naive Muslim youths in the old city which is rampant with illiteracy and unemployment. These travel agents are breeding on the desire for a better life in those youths who find it difficult to achieve in their city.