KOCHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a probe against a Kochi-based foreign recruitment agency which allegedly duped job aspirants after promising employment in Malaysia and charged excess fees from them. It is on the basis of a directive from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Central agency filed a fresh FIR against Sky Link International which functions at Valanjambalam in Kochi.
Earlier, after the matter was probed by a team from the Central police station here, an FIR was registered against the firm in April 2017 on the basis of a complaint lodged by Protector of Emigrants (PoE) Bindu N Nair.
“MEA Director and Chief Vigilance Officer wrote to CBI Director recommending a thorough probe into the activities of the Sky Link International which appeared to be involved in unscrupulous operations. There are allegations of illegal manpower recruitment, the illegal money trail, cheating and forgery against the agency. CBI Anti-Corruption Unit has taken over the probe,” said a CBI officer probing the case.
The premier investigation agency recently lodged an FIR before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court naming Sky Link International and unknown officials at the office of Protector of Emigrants, Kochi as accused. Unknown officials of Protector of Emigrants’ office have been listed as accused since the CBI believes the recruitment firm has the tacit support of these officials which facilitated its dubious recruitment drive. CBI Inspector SS Chauhan will probe the case registered under Section 10 and 24 of the Emigration Act.
“The recruitment agency had in 2016-17 taken money from several persons after promising job openings in Malaysia as engineers and cargo handlers. The agency even put out adverts in this regard. However, violating Emigration norms which bars recruiters from charging processing fees over and above `20,000, agency demanded Rs 1.5 lakh-4.5 lakh for arranging visas,” a CBI officer said. Similarly, most of the job seekers paid sums ranging from Rs 30,000 to one lakh to the agency for getting a job. The job aspirants underwent a medical examination at Chennai. “However, even several months later, neither visas nor employment contracts were provided.