Russia job fraud: full picture yet to emerge

Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The Russia job racket, which came to light a fortnight ago, seems to have trapped dozens of young people. Now authorities and victims’ families suspect that sub-agents may have recruited people from villages and interior towns.

The full picture is yet to emerge but the fact that a single sub-agent had recruited 23 young men by promising them jobs in Russia points to the scale of fraud.

A female travel agent from Kodakara, Thrissur, who acted as a sub-agent of the kingpin Jishnu, is reported to have told the police that she had already sent 23 people to Russia. She had charged upwards of Rs.1 lakh from each of the recruits, apart from the sum to be paid to Jishnu.

Many cheated

One of her victims was Jenshu K.J., 23, of Thuruthippuram near North Paravur. Son of Konath Joseph, a helper at the local church, Jenshu had left for Russia on May 16. Mr. Joseph told The Hindu that the family had paid Rs.1.10 lakh, to the female sub-agent.

Another Rs.1 lakh, in Russian roubles, was paid to Jishnu on arrival in Moscow. He was later taken to St. Petersburg. Jenshu’s mother Mary said that her son who had done a course in air-conditioning mechanism after his Plus Two, was offered a job as floor-tile layer in a company in Russia by the female recruiter.

The family had to borrow money to raise the funds. However, three days after he landed in Moscow, Jenshu called home to say that there was no job available and that he and seven others from Kerala had been cheated.

Those who dared to question Jishnu were roughed up by thugs. When one of the victims informed the Indian diplomatic mission, they were all beaten up. Mr. Joseph said his son had somehow escaped from Jishnu’s clutches and was now being sheltered by some Indian students.

The families of the victims of the Russia job racket have petitioned the Chief Minister as well as the Union Ministers from Kerala to save their wards. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has taken up the issue with the Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.