Three persons who allegedly operated a fake overseas manpower agency were arrested during a raid conducted by the Protector of Emigrants here on Monday.

According to a press release, a city-based agency advertised through bulk SMS that heavy vehicle drivers were being recruited for a firm in Kuwait and loading/unloading workers for a firm in Saudi Arabia. These messages were also received by the Protector of Emigrants, Chennai, D. Jaisankar, in the first week of January and February.

A special team formed to investigate the claim found that the advertisements were given by Arun Travels and Tours, Ekattuthangal, an agency not registered with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. Also, the job offers quoted in the messages were found to be fake.

The team raided the premises of the firm and found a number of medical certificates, copies of passports and other documents indicating a large-scale recruitment drive. Registers seized from the office revealed that applicants were made to pay between Rs. 45,000 and Rs. 55,000 as service charge. The office of the agency was sealed.

N. Murugan Proprietor of Arun Travel and Tours, and two Directors of the company S. Venkataraman and Ishak Ali were arrested. They were handed over to the Central Crime Brach of the Chennai Police for further investigation.

The Protector of Emigrants warned employment agencies registered under the Ministry against availing the services of sub-agents for recruitment.

He also appealed to the emigrants not to fall prey to illegal advertisements sent through text messages, the release added.