news Thursday, May 07, 2015 - 05:30
A recent raid of a private recruitment agency Al Zarafa Group in Kerala’s Ernakulam has revealed a nursing recruitment scam that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has pegged at Rs 200 crores.   Here are five things to know about the scam:   1.  The manpower consultancy company Al Zarafa Group had been contracted to recruit 1,200 nurses for the Kuwait Ministry of Health and had begun screening candidates in December last year. Officials from the ministry attended the interview held at a hotel in Ernakulam.   2.  In the last week of March, the consultancy was raided by officials of the Income Tax Department. In that raid it was revealed that the agency had collected around Rs 110 crore from 450 nursing job seekers, ie around Rs 19.5 lakh per person, while the stipulated rate was just Rs 19,500.    3.  One of the key accused mentioned in the FIR is L Adolfus, Protector of Emigrants (POE) with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Kochi. When one of the nurses approached the POE with a complaint, he is alleged to have sent it to Al Zarafa, which later threatened the woman.   4.  The company, which is officially called Al Zarafa Group Travel, Tour & Manpower Consultants, is owned by Uthup Varghese, a native of Kottayam district who is now based in Dubai. On April 19, Uthup Varghese was arrested by Kuwait Police and later released as there was no case registered against him in the Middle East country. The candidates who paid the money have not yet come forward with any complaints. Uthup has filed for anticipatory bail at a district sessions court in Ernakulam.   5.  On May 6, CBI gave a report to the court seeking the rejection of Uthup’s bail plea. CBI said that that he is a criminal with underworld connections and had committed financial fraud. The officials also informed the court that they are in the last stage of issuing a lookout notice for Uthup.