Kochi immigration officer arrested in nurses’ job scam

Kochi: The CBI on Monday arrested L. Adolfus, the protector of emigrants (PoE) in Kochi, in an alleged scam related to recruitment of nurses from the state to be deployed in Kuwait.

Adolfus will be presented in court on Tuesday, a CBI official told IANS.

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“A court here in April rejected Adolfus’s anticipatory bail plea in an alleged scam pertaining to recruitment of nurses to Kuwait. He was questioned by us, and was arrested today,” said the CBI official, who did not wish to be named.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took up the case in March following a raid by the Income Tax department at a private recruitment agency that was allegedly collecting huge sums as recruitment fee from nurses selected for employment in Kuwait.

The racket was exposed after a nurse who was selected and paid the fee, decided not to go to Kuwait. However, the recruitment agency allegedly refused to refund the money.

The nurse then approached the PoE, but failed to get help from Adolfus.

It was around this time the Income Tax department conducted searches, and found huge sums of unaccounted money at the office of the recruitment agency.

Following media reports, the CBI took up the case.

Uthup Varghese, the owner of the Kochi-based recruitment agency, is based in the Middle East. Despite repeated requests by the CBI to make himself available before the probe agency, he is yet to come to India. His anticipatory bail plea was recently rejected.

“We have begun proceedings to see that Varghese appears before us,” the CBI official said.

The PoE, who works under the ministry of overseas Indian affairs, is responsible for granting emigration clearance to intending emigrants as per the procedure prescribed under the Emigration Act, 1983.

The PoE is required to protect and aid with his advice all intending emigrants, as well as inquire into the treatment received by emigrants during their journey.