U.S. Fake University Sting Operation: 30 Students from AP, Telangana Return IndiaTop Stories

February 08, 2019 15:55
U.S. Fake University Sting Operation: 30 Students from AP, Telangana Return India

(Image source from: ythisnews.com)

Days after a sting operation was conducted in the United States to expose immigration racket, at least 30 students from the two Telugu states - Telangana and Andhra Pradesh - returned from the U.S., who were not detained or served notice by the authorities in the “pay-to-stay” fake university scam, according to Telugu organizations.

The organizations in Telugu state worker with students around the clock said returning home was the safest option for these students who were not detained or received notices for violation of immigration laws. The students were held for enrolling themselves in a fake university set up by the U.S. authorities.

About 130 students, among whom 129 are Indians, all from Telugu states, continued to remain under "administrative detention" since the racket was busted earlier this week.

About 600 foreign students, 90 percent of the Indians, had enrolled with the fake University of Farmington set up by the U.S. authorities under a sting operation. More than 80 percent of these students were from the two Telugu states.

While eight students, who worked as recruiters, were arrested, 129 of them were kept under administrative detention at different places. 

"Those who had shifted to other universities are safe but there is no problem for others in returning home," Buchiram Kalapatapu, chief coordinator, Andhra Pradesh Non-Resident Telugu (APNRT) Society, told IANS.

Those working with the "victim" students believe that there should be no problem for the students returning home in finding suitable job opportunities in India. They had already done MS from other universities and subsequently availed Optional Practical Training (OPT), a one-year work permit.

"To stay in the U.S. and work, they took admission in this university for another MS as it lured the students with the offer that they need not attend the classes," said Buchiram.

The students doing MS in any U.S. university have to attend classes for a specified period to avail Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or to work as an intern during the course period.

"Even if a university is offering online courses, the students should find out if it has a physical presence or not. This particular university was offering online courses but had no physical presence," said Buchiram. 

Since many of the students had taken bank loans for the studies in the U.S., they wanted to continue to stay and work there to repay the loans.

Each student had paid $20,000 to $25,000 to enrol in the fake university, which recruited students in 26 states across the U.S.

Ravikumar P. Vemuru, President of APNRT society, had earlier said that since there was no clear-cut intention by the students to defraud the U.S. government, the maximum punishment they could get was deportation.

APNRT is working with the Indian Embassy to provide legal assistance to all the students. It is working closely with the Indian consulate in Houston.

Even the eight students who worked as recruiters were provided attorneys. One of them has already got bail. The Society officials continue to be hopeful that the leftover would also get bail before long.

-Sowmya Sangam

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