New Delhi, July 11: The Indira Gandhi International Airport Police in the national capital has apprehended 108 fraudulent agents in response to escalating incidents of visa and passport fraud facilitating illegal immigration. These extensive efforts, strategic operations, and notable outcomes have strengthened the integrity of air travel and national security.

According to the Delhi Police data, over the past six months, the IGI Airport Police have apprehended 108 fraudulent agents--a substantial increase compared to 51 in the same period in 2023. "Arrests have been made nationwide, including in Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, and West Bengal," it added. Visa Fraud in Mumbai: Malad-Based Couple Dupe Over 40 People of INR 1.63 Crore on Pretext of Providing Work Visa for Canada, Booked.

The police have shifted their focus towards holding agents accountable rather than solely targeting passengers, who may unknowingly fall victim to illegal immigration schemes, often seeking better opportunities abroad. This strategic approach addresses the root causes of these scams and has led to significant success in detection and apprehension efforts. Meanwhile, a thorough review of pending cases where only passengers were previously arrested, was conducted and Investigating Officers were briefed and tasked to track down and prosecute these offenders.

"As a result, in 2024, numerous agents from old cases (around 51 agents) and new cases (around 57 agents) have been apprehended," it added. According to the Delhi Police data, "around 76 Look Out Circulars (LOCs) have been issued for agents who have fled abroad or remain untraceable. This ensures their apprehension upon arrival or departure from India, marking a twofold increase from the same period in 2023."

Several Proclaimed Offenders (POs) mostly from cases over a decade old, have been apprehended this year, demonstrating the police's commitment to resolving long-standing cases, the police stated. The police said that public awareness is crucial to prevent individuals from falling victim to fraudulent agents who exploit their aspirations for better opportunities abroad. These agents employ deceptive tactics, often leaving unaware passengers in legal jeopardy. Many victims unknowingly become involved in these schemes, paying substantial sums sourced from selling lands, mortgaging homes, or taking high-interest loans, it added. Meta, Match Group, Coinbase, Others Team Up To Prevent Online Fraud and Disrupt Financial Scams.

The IGI Airport Police's investigations have revealed various rackets and scams involving methods such as affixing fake departure/arrival stamps, using 'donkey routes' for illegal entry, producing fake visas, forging passports, work permits, and seaman documents, creating fake identities for foreign nationals--especially for Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas--and orchestrating impersonation schemes. In fake visa cases, agents create and provide counterfeit visas that closely resemble genuine visas to passengers.

"In 2024, 19 agents involved in such cases have been arrested," police said. Donkey routes are also used to illegally immigrate pax into Asian countries as well. Agents exploit passengers by sending them to countries offering visa-on-arrival to Indian nationals, and organizing routes that facilitate illegal border crossings into destination countries. "In 2024, 11 agents involved in these schemes have been arrested," it said. Traveling on someone else's passport with similar facial features a total of 24 agents have been arrested in such cases in the year 2024.

In 2024, in changing their identity after blacklisting three agents have been arrested. In the Fake Indian Passports for Foreign Nationals case 21 agents have been arrested for providing such services in 2024, police said. "In Tampering with Passports 12 agents have been arrested in such cases in 2024. 8 agents involved in creating fake travel histories have been apprehended. 7 agents have been arrested in no departure cases," it added.

The IGI Airport Police's proactive measures and decisive actions against fraudulent agents demonstrate its commitment to preserving national security and upholding the integrity of immigration processes. Through collaborative efforts and comprehensive strategies, the IGI Airport Police remains steadfast in its mission to combat organized crime and protect public trust in air travel. The public is urged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Police to help curb this menace.

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