Sleuths of the Central Crime Branch busted an international job racket, which had allegedly cheated several people of lakhs of rupees by promising them jobs overseas.
Hema (41) and her husband, Narayanan (52), who were running a manpower agency, were arrested from Mambakkam on Saturday. The couple were arrested following a complaint from four persons, including Ashok Pandian, who claimed
that they had paid Rs 34 lakh for a job in Canada, but were left stranded in an African country.
Hema, a BCom graduate who worked with the Indian Market Research Bureau, and Narayanan, a sales representative, floated 20th Century Consultant, a manpower agency, in 1997 but did not obtain necessary permission from the Protector of Emigrants. They initially offered employment opportunities in companies such as Khaitan and Godrej. Later, with the help of another agent Vairavan of Singapore, they secured jobs for a few persons in Singapore.
In the following years, they expanded their network with the assistance of brokers like Muthusaravanan of Chennai and Ravandeep of Chandigarh and promised jobs in Canada.
With the assistance of Raveendeep, the couple promised to send four persons to Canada via Malaysia. However, after reaching Malaysia, they were sent to Benin in West Africa, where they were put up in a hotel. At the hotel, a local agent issued what appeared to be Canadian work permits to them and took their passports. The group later realised that they were cheated and contacted the Indian High Commission in Ghana, which informed them that the work permits were fake. Subsequently, emergency travel documents were issued to the stranded victims to travel to India. The High Commissioner also forwarded the details of the case to Indian authorities.
The couple are believed to have defrauded several others over the years, though details are yet to emerge. One applicant, Amirthavalli, said she had approached Narayanan and his wife for a job in Canada for her husband and daughter. The couple arranged a telephonic interview for the applicants with an agent allegedly impersonating an employer. However, the family soon realised that they had been cheated.
The couple then shifted to a new address and blamed another agent for the lapse.
A case has been registered against Narayanan and Hema under sections 420 of IPC and 24 of Emigration Act, 1983.
Meanwhile, police advised job seekers to approach the office of the Protector of Emigrants in Ashok Nagar in order to verify whether manpower consultancies were genuine or not.