KOCHI: If you are looking for overseas employment and your recruitment agency demands 'emigration charge' from you, it means that the money will be paid as bribe to immigration officers at the airport.
A report filed by the CBI at the CBI Court on Saturday, on the probe conducted into human trafficking cases involving Kerala Police officials deputed in the Immigration Wing, has revealed the unholy nexus between immigration officials and travel agents.
The chargesheet filed by the CBI against A H Safeer alias Abdul Jabbar Habeeba Beevi Safeer who served as a sub-inspector in the Kerala Police; P A Niyaz, co-owner of Thrissur-based Dear Travels; P K Shajahan, co-owner of Dear Travels; and A H Sajeer, Civil Excise Officer and brother of Safeer shed light on the organised human trafficking taking place in the State, with the knowledge of public servants.
Safeer had served in the Immigration Wing of the Nedumabassery airport from February 2005 to July 2012. "Most of the immigration officials posted during that period are well experienced and had connections with travel agents, which facilitated transfer of bribe between the agents and officials of the Bureau of Immigration(BOI), which took over immigration service at the airport in August 2012," stated the CBI report. The travel agents helped ineligible passengers travel abroad illegally, and genuine passengers to travel without securing immigration clearance. "The agents canvassed passengers for illegal immigration at the airport, facilitated their unauthorised immigration without Protector of Emigration (PoE) clearance and accepted bribe by way of cash deposits," stated the CBI. The CBI report further revealed that the passengers identified for 'emigration charges' belonged to the financially backward section of society, who were apprehensive of the emigration checking.
"Hence 'emigration charges' were literally 'extorted' from the passengers who were left with no other option but to pay the amount demanded by travel agents," pointed out the report.
The majority of the supervisory officers at the immigration counters, who could have detected the illegal activity, were also influenced by the travel agents.
According to the CBI, some of the officials who later got transferred back to the Kerala Police are still continuing the illegal activity.