National

Fraudulent agents tricking unwitting migrants in Delhi

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, NEW DELHI
Nepal Police receives 281 plaints on fraud cases from Nepalis based in various countries between Sept 2015 and Oct 2016

Dec 27, 2016-On December 23, three Nepalis approached the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi with a complaint that they had been victims of fraud from a Nepali man based in the Indian capital city.

The trio, two of them sisters, wanted the embassy to find the whereabouts of a man who went by the name of Gopal Prasad Limbu. Gopal Prasad, according to them, was the person who was supposed to send them to Australia from New Delhi and now he was nowhere to be found. 

For months, Sushila Rai, Joshila Tamang and Suman Adhikari (names changed) had stayed at a hotel in Pahadgunj waiting to catch a flight to Australia. At this point, the three had paid a combined amount of Rs 4.2 million to Gopal Prasad and his Kathmandu-based associate, Bikas Bajgain, to get a passage to Australia. And two months ago, Gopal Prasad did a runner on them.

“We were shown fake visas which we are realising now. For six months, we bought into his elaborate ruse. He used to come up with various excuses about the inordinate delay in departure,” said Sushila, who hails from Lamahi in Dang district. 

Sushila had paid Rs 2 million on various occasions to Bikas in Kathmandu and Gopal Prasad in New Delhi. Meanwhile, her sister, Joshila, and Suman had staked Rs 500,000 and Rs 1.7 million for their dream of landing in Australia armed with work visas. Sushila, who is a wife of an Indian Army soldier, said her husband had supported her decision of applying for a work visa in Australia and he had even provided her with the money. 

“Settling in Australia was what we two had hoped,” she said, regretting how wrong she had been when she believed Bikas and arrived in New Delhi, hoping that everything had been taken care of by Gopal Prasad.

Senior Superintendent of Nepal Police Yadav Khanal, who is based at the embassy, said that they will cooperate with the Delhi Crime Branch to find Gopal Prasad. He, however, said that the complaint registered by Sushila, Joshila and Suman against Gopal Prasad was not the only case of foreign employment fraud that the embassy was dealing with at the moment. Just two months earlier, Kalpana Thapa of Tanahun had also visited the  embassy, seeking help after being duped by a person who had 

promised to send her abroad for employment. 

In fact, the embassy is after several frauds who are on the run after swindling several Nepalis of millions of rupees by posing as foreign employment agents.

“We are seeing a growth in the number of complaints made by Nepalis against Nepalis on employment fraud allegations,” said SSP Khanal.

While Delhi was already the go-to transit used by traffickers and the so-called foreign employment agents for sending migrants to the Gulf states and the countries that have been declared off-limits for migrants by the government, it is now becoming the last stop for many a unwitting people who come here hoping to board flights to the destination countries.  

The  Nepal Police received 281 complaints of fraud from 1,266 Nepalis based in various countries including India in the period between September 15, 2015 and October 4, 2016. The frequency of foreign employment related complaints from India were particularly high as the fraudulent foreign employment agents and human traffickers have been found using the country as a transit.

The porous border between Nepal and India has always facilitated traffickers and fraudulent foreign employment agents to move their victims. And despite the commitments from the two governments to check human trafficking, it just continues to go on and on. 

The only way for Nepalis to avoid falling into traps laid by traffickers and unscrupulous foreign employment agents is to become aware and choose legal ways to get into the countries where they wish to go for employment, SSP Khanal said.  “When the agents say that they will be sending you to your destination via Delhi route, then chances are that you will be cheated.” 

Published: 27-12-2016 08:59

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