ED seizes 15 immovable assets under FEMA

The Enforcement Directorate has seized 15 immovable properties of three persons associated with Hyderabad-based 3K Technologies Limited, one of whom was earlier found involved in orchestrating a student visa fraud in the United States.

The assets, belonging to Karusala Venkat Subba Rao, Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao and Tejesh K. Kodali, have been seized under the Foreign Exchange Management Act. They are worth ₹3.19 crore.

The ED initiated the probe based on an input from the office of Development Commissioner, Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone, that the unit had reported abnormal exports.

The agency found that 3K Technologies Limited had transferred foreign exchange worth more than ₹52.47 crore to 3K Technologies Inc., U.S.A., in 2010 in the guise of Overseas Direct Investment (ODI). The U.S.-based company was incorporated in February 2007 and dissolved in January 2011, within three months after the receipt of final ODI tranche. Mr. Kodali was also its director.

While no shares were issued by the U.S.-based company, no annual reports were filed with the Reserve Bank of India. After transferring the funds, the three persons left India and are currently in the U.S. They are not responding to ED summonses and the funds are still being held overseas, according to the agency.

The ED found that in the U.S., Mr. Kodali was sentenced to five years prison and $2.50 lakh in fine for the student visa fraud case over four years ago. He currently works there. As per the Department of Justice's statement in December 2016, Mr. Kodali pleaded guilty of the fraud that was detected by the U.S. agencies in a sting operation.

On April 5, 2016, 22 brokers, recruiters, and employers, including Mr. Kodali, were charged with enrolling foreign nationals in the University of Northern New Jersey, a purported for-profit college located in Cranford, New Jersey (UNNJ). The UNNJ was created in September 2013 by Homeland Security Investigations for the purpose of identifying those indulging in visa fraud.

UNNJ represented itself as a school that was also authorised to issue a “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students”, which certifies that a foreign national has been accepted to a school and would be a full-time student. The document enables legitimate foreign students to get an F-1 student visa.

Mr. Kodali told his foreign national clients that for a fee, they could enroll at UNNJ without having to attend any classes and that their enrolment would enable them to fraudulently maintain their non-immigrant status. In order to deceive immigration officials, he and his foreign clients obtained and created bogus student papers. He also conspired to secure fraudulent work authorisations for some foreign clients, it was alleged.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 2:10:08 pm |