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A computer and hard disc were also seized

“The accused had told investigators that he had already taken a couple of employees to US

in a similar fashion but they had obtained work permit there”

CHENNAI: Sleuths of the Crime Branch CID seized incriminating documents and electronic gadgets from the corporate office of P. R. Shiva Kumar, Managing Director (Overseas) of the Chennai-based Saravana Bhavan group of hotels here on Monday.

Additional Director-General of Police (CBCID) Archana Ramasundaram said the passports of the employees for whom tourist visas were applied were seized. The US Consulate had forwarded the application forms to facilitate the investigation. “We have seized incriminating documents. A computer and hard disc, part of the seizure, would be sent to the Forensic Department for analysis,” she told The Hindu on Monday.

Shiva Kumar is facing charges of trying to cheat by furnishing false information in the visa application forms on the profile of the four employees whom he wanted to take to the U. S. “He probably wanted to employ them in his outlet there. For us, this is only a cheating case… it is more document-oriented. His intention was clearly to cheat by fraudulently taking the employees on a tourist visa. The U.S. Consulate has said this is an offence under their law.” Ms. Archana said the accused had told investigators that he had already taken a couple of employees to the US in a similar fashion but they had obtained work permit there. “After perusing the documents seized and seeking other relevant information, we intend to take the accused into custody for interrogation,” she added.

Meanwhile, citing the recent detection of fraudulent visa applications, the U.S. Consulate General has appealed to visa applicants to follow simple guidelines that were available on the official website (http://Chennai.usconsulate.gov).

In an official release, the U.S. Consulate-General in Chennai said visa seekers, while seeking work in US, should protect themselves from potential employment fraud by verifying a recruiter’s claims. “The U.S. welcomes and encourages legitimate travel to America and we are pleased by the increasing volume of travel between India and the U.S. However, we have to caution that visa requirements have not been relaxed and scrutiny remains high. Fraud in a visa application may constitute a criminal offence under the laws of both India and U.S…. there are no shortcuts to obtaining a visa.”

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